Monday, March 09, 2020

An online hame for "Hame"

Here's a still of yours truly and Ruth from the new intro sequence for the recently-aired second series of Hame. We started filming them in September 2017 and the first series of 6 episodes was broadcast in early 2018. Two years later in early 2020 the next three episodes were aired.

• All nine episodes are now available on BBC iPlayer here.

Another series is being planned just now, and at the end of those we'll hopefully have covered all nine of Ulster's counties at least once, and maybe a bit beyond. Lots of talented, committed and experienced tv professionals have made Hame possible. I plan to watch the first 9 again soon just to see them with fresh eyes, to cringe at myself, but more importantly to see the Ulster-Scots community contributors in action on-screen, sharing their places and stories. I have emphatically believed from the very start that Hame is all about them.

In two years I'll be turning 50, having spent a fair chunk of the past 20+ years semi-obsessed with Ulster-Scots and on a voyage of personal rediscovery, and to share almost-forgotten stories with as many other people as I could. My first Ulster-Scots Agency function as Chair in 2005 was at Bready Jubilee Primary School in west Tyrone, geographically it’s nearly as far from “my ain hame” as it’s possible to be, but among folk whose world is so like mine. I remember seriously suggesting that at least one Agency board meeting should be held in a country church hall, not in a boardroom or a swish hotel. I've travelled all over the place to meet folk, to play music and sing, to give talks, and now a bit of broadcasting off and on. Where the folk are.

But I'm now wondering about what has actually been achieved by the contemporary Ulster-Scots effort more widely – do the general public just 'enjoy it' as spectators, have they learned something about themselves, has it enhanced and deepened their sense of place, or do they ‘embrace it' as part of who they themselves are and as a major part of what “this place we call Hame” is? And if I'm spared for another 20+ years, what will be the best use of that time?

• I'd be happy to hear your own thoughts on the series, but also on where our society and community is with understanding the whole notion of Ulster-Scots.