BBC One’s popular documentary series, Our Lives, is set to return next week, captivating audiences with new and extraordinary stories of ordinary people from various corners of the UK. The seventh series of the insightful show promises to shed light on the complex and inspiring lives led by individuals across the country.

Kicking off the first episode of the new series is “My Husband the MMA Fighter,” a compelling story that delves into the mental health challenges faced by Stevie “Braveheart” Ray. Stevie, a Scottish MMA fighter, is preparing for a crucial bout in his quest to become the first Scottish MMA World Champion. Alongside his wife Natalie, Stevie opens up about the realities of their married life, which involves dealing with both crushing defeats and soaring victories, financial instability, brutal injuries, and Stevie’s ongoing battle with depression. Nevertheless, Stevie remains steadfast in his determination to dream big and conquer any obstacles for the sake of his family.

Series seven also shines a spotlight on the remarkable journey of Natasha Lambert and her family from the Isle of Wight. Despite being born with cerebral palsy and initially facing grim prognoses of being unable to walk, talk, or feed herself, Natasha’s life takes an incredible turn when her engineer father invents a technology that enables her to control a yacht using her breath. Fueled by her passion for sailing, Natasha and her family embark on their most audacious challenge yet: sailing across the perilous Atlantic Ocean. Their indomitable spirit and unwavering determination make for a captivating story of resilience and the pursuit of dreams.

Among the other inspiring narratives featured in this twelve-episode series is the story of Sussex free-diver Eric Smith, who takes viewers on an underwater exploration to assess the success of efforts to restore marine wildlife. Viewers will also follow the journey of Josh Quigley, a suicide survivor from Livingston, as he battles against the clock, with only six months to train for a chance to compete in the Cycling World Championships in Glasgow. Additionally, the series captures the reopening of Wales’s highest café, situated at the summit of Yr Wyddfa, commonly known as Snowdon, as local residents grapple with striking a balance between supporting the influx of post-pandemic tourism and maintaining their community’s essence.

Further episodes will feature Stephen Greer, a former prisoner turned art teacher, who utilises art as a powerful tool for rehabilitation within Northern Ireland’s prisons. The Yarnbombers, a group of women from Swansea, will adorn Mumbles Pier with their imaginative knitted creations in celebration of the King’s Coronation. Mei Zhang and her golden retriever, Koda, demonstrate the transformative impact of Assistance Dogs on mental health in “The Dog That’s Saving My Life.” Meanwhile, bus-driver-turned-lottery-winner Peter Lavery endeavors to open the first whiskey distillery in his hometown of Belfast in ninety years, thereby investing back into his local community.

In addition to these stories, the series follows Northern Irish elite gymnast Rhys McClenaghan as he aims to secure gold in three pivotal competitions that could shape his career. On Flat Holm Island in the Bristol Channel, the new warden, Simon Parker, assumes the responsibility of safeguarding the welfare of the indigenous seagull colony’s newly hatched chicks. Furthermore, Isla Mackenzie, a young engineer from the Western Isles, who works for one of the world’s top Formula 1 teams, prepares for her maiden racing debut.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, the BBC Director of Nations, emphasises that Our Lives serves as a tribute to exceptional individuals across the UK and their unwavering determination to pursue their dreams. The series offers a vibrant, passionate, and diverse portrayal of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

The return of Our Lives aligns with the BBC’s Across the UK strategy, aimed at fostering stronger connections with audiences and better reflecting, representing, and serving all regions of the UK. By 2027/28, the BBC plans to invest a minimum of an extra £700 million cumulatively across the UK, generating an additional economic benefit of over £850 million. This initiative not only promises to create more job opportunities and training prospects but also strives to enhance representation both on and off screen.

Series seven of Our Lives is scheduled to premiere on Friday, June 2, at 7:30 pm on BBC One and will be available for streaming on BBC iPlayer.