Sunday, March 11, 2018

Welcome 'Hame'

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Well this week will be interesting! After many months of filming, working with really great people, travelling across Ulster to six places seldom seen on tv, ‘Hame’ will go on air next Sunday night, on BBC2 Northern Ireland, at 10pm. We recorded the promo adverts at our kitchen table last Friday so I think they’ll be broadcast over the next few days.

I like Belfast. I chose to stay here to study and work when many of my peers went to Scotland or England. There’s life beyond greater Belfast, but greater Belfast issues, voices and viewpoints tend to dominate our airwaves. It’s as much about the mindset as it is the geography. Ulster-Scots exists in the city too, but well below the usual media ‘radar’. It is indeed a ‘very Scottish city’.

But there’s another, rural, world here in which authentic Ulster-Scots lives and breathes. Ulster-Scots works best when it’s expressed at grassroots, even when those grassroots are imperfect and maybe not as knowledgeable as they might be, or as their grandparents were. But they are still the 'keepers of the flame'. You can’t invent authenticity and enthusiasm. The best thing to do is to meet those folk on their own terms and let them speak for themselves. And that’s pretty much what we did.

I am glad that Sean and Fiona and Michael coaxed me into doing it. I'm co-presenting with the very wonderful Ruth Sanderson, well-known to viewers of HomeGround already. I'm just the new boy! It’s been hard work, but an honour and pleasure to have been involved in. It’s taught me a lot about how tough it is to make a tv series. It’s shown me that within the broadcast sector there are people who care (my experience over the years of trying to engage with that world has been pretty mixed). I think that their professionalism, talent, care, attention to detail, empathy, and understanding of tradition, shines through.

But ultimately, Hame is about the people and the places that we visited and spent time with. Tune in and see for yourself.

As the old motto says, Gang East, Gang West – Hame's Best.

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