BBC Northern Ireland has unveiled its autumn 2023 schedule, featuring an array of documentary, drama, entertainment, and factual programs, along with the return of some beloved favourites. The lineup encompasses a diverse range, including Irish dancing, online scams, prison life realities, tractor racing, cooking, and coastal drama in Hope Street.
Eddie Doyle, Head of Content Commissioning at BBC Northern Ireland, stated, “We have a fantastic assortment of fresh and inventive programs to offer this autumn. Our schedule showcases well-crafted narratives covering various facets of life, highlighting the excellence of local filmmaking talent.”
Doyle further remarked, “The programs unveiled today cater to a broad audience, and we are delighted that they will be accessible to a wider UK viewership via BBC iPlayer. Much of our achievements owe gratitude to the backing from Northern Ireland Screen and collaborative co-commissions with BBC network television.”
Behind Bars: Maghaberry Prison Unveiled
Following the triumphant reception of Nolan Inside Hydebank, both locally and across the BBC network, Stephen Nolan attains unprecedented access to HMP Maghaberry, one of the UK’s most secure penitentiaries. Engaging in conversations with inmates within their cells, Nolan probes the challenges encountered by both the staff and the prison system. The result is an impactful and illuminating viewing experience.
The Year That Revolutionized Irish Dancing
In this observational series, we shadow a dedicated and gifted group of young dancers from Northern Ireland and the United States as they diligently prepare for their paramount event of the year—the 2022 Irish Dancing World Championships in Belfast. These dancers invest countless hours in practice, aiming to compete on a global platform, showcasing remarkable athleticism and emotional commitment. However, beneath the surface lies a concealed “open secret,” which surfaces as allegations of widespread cheating explode online.
A fresh six-part series, developed by Rare TV and Green Inc for BBC Northern Ireland, presents retired and active police detectives recounting pivotal investigations that have left an indelible mark on their careers. Drawing from original evidence and archived news accounts, each story provides insights into police inquiries and their reverberations. Cases span the inquiry into Jennifer Cardy’s 1981 abduction and murder, the 2000 slaying of Paul Gault, to the handling of a bomb threat during Queen Elizabeth II’s 2011 state visit to Ireland.
Instascam Chronicles: Reclaiming Identity
James, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Belfast, lived a life of opulence—fine attire, rapid vehicles, and lavish vacations—until he began receiving messages from strangers alleging he had swindled them out of substantial sums. James’s social media profiles had been compromised, and his identity and visage graced countless counterfeit accounts. In his quest to reclaim his identity, James delves into a shadowy world of organized criminal activity.
The Fast And The Farmer-ish: Tractor Trials Return
The mammoth wheels return, accompanied by rivalries, as six teams from across the UK engage in a high-stakes competition to demonstrate their tractor-driving prowess. Confronting a fresh series of colossal challenges, each team strives to evade elimination in the nail-biting “tractor-off” segment at each episode’s culmination. The victor’s spoils are glory, as they earn the coveted title of Fast And The Farmer-ish champions. The competition is presided over by farmer and YouTuber Tom Pemberton.
The Long And Short Of History
Following its triumph on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle and BBC Sounds, the acclaimed series makes its television premiere, led by presenters Tim McGarry, a towering comedian, and the “vertically challenged” Orangeman and historian, Dr. David Hume. Over four 30-minute episodes, Tim and David explore Irish history from varied angles, making the subject easily accessible and engrossing. With both lighthearted and profound moments, the episodes investigate intriguing aspects of the past, including the Siege of Derry’s enigma, the Act of Union’s hypothetical vote, the justification behind the Larne Gun Running, and the complex legacy of Michael Collins.
Hope Street’s Ongoing Saga
Autumn heralds the return of the cherished drama Hope Street, as the popular series, jointly produced by BBC Daytime, BBC Northern Ireland, and BritBox International, enters its third season with an extended 15-episode run. Long Story TV oversees the production, with financial support from Northern Ireland Screen.
Chinook: Concealed Truths
The upcoming year marks the 30th anniversary of a tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of a generation of Northern Ireland’s foremost intelligence operatives. The victims’ families continue their quest for answers. This two-part series unveils their narratives and experiences, enlisting insights from a range of experts to provide a comprehensive account of the event, shedding light on long-concealed aspects.
A Place to Call Home: Bog Amach
Bog Amach, a six-part series, spotlights individuals aspiring for a better life through relocation. Presenter Emer Mhic an Fhailí accompanies six couples and families to picturesque locales in Donegal, Wexford, Connemara, Derry, and Belfast, as they embark on their quest for the perfect dwelling. Produced by Strident, the series is a joint effort between RTÉ, BBC Gaeilge, and Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcasting Fund (ILBF).
Paula McIntyre’s Homely Culinary Ventures
Renowned chef Paula McIntyre returns to BBC television with her series, Paula McIntyre’s Hamely Kitchen. Across four episodes, Paula rejoices in local ingredients, crafting delectable traditional recipes with a contemporary twist. Clean Slate Television is the driving force behind the production, with the Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund from Northern Ireland Screen providing support.
Suzie Lee: A Culinary Luminary
Suzie Lee reappears with a splendid array of novel recipes to tantalise taste buds. Suzie shares her insights and strategies, guiding viewers through an array of culinary endeavours, from Christmas turkey preparation to crafting delightful dim sum and mastering perfect pastry. Waddell Media spearheads the production for BBC Northern Ireland.
The Blame Game’s Hilarious Returns
The much-loved comedy, The Blame Game, a production of Moondog Productions, returns to BBC Northern Ireland with a delightful mix of guests who join series regulars Tim McGarry, Colin Murphy, Diona Doherty, and Neil Delamere in serving up laughter.
Unveiling Bogs: Rúin na bPortach
In a fresh series titled Rúin na bPortach, viewers are offered a fresh perspective on the bogs and peatlands of Ireland and beyond. Presenter Cormac Ó hÁdhmaill leads an expedition from Canada’s boreal peatlands to Finland’s expansive peat plains and Ireland’s captivating blanket bogs. The series introduces individuals exploring pharmaceutical innovations from native bog plants and caring for Scotland’s Red Stag amidst the peaty highlands of the Outer Hebrides. The show also examines the societal ramifications of changes in the peat industry.
Nurtured by Below The Radar, the series receives support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcasting Fund (ILBF).
Resumption of Current Affairs Offerings
Nolan Live, The View, and Spotlight, BBC Northern Ireland’s acclaimed current affairs programs, are set to make their anticipated return this year. This autumn, screens will light up with a variety of shows filmed on location in Northern Ireland.