BBC Northern Ireland celebrates its 100th birthday with BBC Comes To Town roadshow

BBC Northern Ireland celebrates its 100th birthday with BBC Comes To Town roadshow
Published 08 Apr 2024

BBC Comes To Town 2024

BBC Comes to Town 2024 includes outside broadcasts, preview screenings, talks, interactive events, music-making and lots more.

As part of activities and events to mark 100 years of BBC services in Northern Ireland, a special series of BBC roadshows will be happening at locations across the region.

BBC Comes to Town 2024 will include outside broadcasts, preview screenings, talks, interactive events, music-making from the Ulster Orchestra (the BBC’s orchestra in Northern Ireland) and lots more besides.

This initiative has been developed in partnership with Libraries NI and local libraries will be a broadcast and production centre for much of what is taking place.

Ballymena will be the first location for BBC Comes to Town 2024 from 09 -11 April.

BBC events in the town will include a preview screening for Blue Lights ahead of the series’ return to BBC network television and BBC iPlayer. This free event will take place at The Braid at 7pm on 10 April and will include some members of the Blue Lights cast and the series’ writers, Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson. Tickets are available from The Braid box office.

Well-known BBC journalists and presenters will be visiting local schools to talk about their work and there’ll be opportunities for school and community groups to take part in a BBC Interactive Exhibition in Ballymena Central Library on 10 and 11 April. It will give visitors a chance to experience what it’s like to present a BBC weather forecast or BBC Newsline bulletin. And there’ll be other interactive fun with sports commentary, radio drama and information about BBC apprenticeships and careers.

BBC Rewind will showcase news reports and television coverage of Ballymena and its people over the decades. And Picture Box, a new touring exhibition, will tell the story of BBC and its services in Northern Ireland with photos of well-known personalities and programmes – many of them on display for the first time. It will be located in The Braid from 10-11 April.

Jackie Fullerton and the Northern Ireland men’s international football team manager Michael O’Neill will be chatting with BBC Sport NI reporter Thomas Kane in a special In Conversation event at The Braid at 7pm on Wednesday 10 April. It will include sporting stories and insights, a little bit of BBC archive footage and plenty of laughs. A limited number of tickets for this free event will be available from The Braid box office soon.

BBC Radio Ulster will have lots of live outside broadcasts, including: Good Morning Ulster, The Connor Phillips Show, Hugo Duncan, the Lynette Fay Show and Ralph McLean Country. And there’ll also be recordings for Gardener’s Corner and Countryside – meaning that there really will be something for everyone to get along to, and enjoy.

Adam Smyth, Director, BBC Northern Ireland says: ‘We’re proud of the BBC’s role at the heart of community and cultural life. Our 100th birthday is an opportunity to celebrate what we do and to bring the BBC even closer to the communities we serve. BBC Comes to Town will involve lots of outside broadcasts and other events. And we’ll be sharing that fun with audiences everywhere across radio, television and online.”

Dr Jim O’Hagan, Chief Executive of Libraries NI says: “Libraries NI is delighted to have helped bring BBC Comes to Town to Ballymena. Our busy library and its staff will play host to lots of different BBC activities and events. And we’ll be encouraging local people to come along and be part of BBC’s big, birthday roadshow. This initiative builds on our partnership with the BBC and it’s another great example of what we can do together.”

Connor Phillips, BBC Radio Ulster presenter says: “We can’t wait to bring the BBC Radio Ulster team to Ballymena. It so important to meet the people who make our show so special. Our Ballymena listeners are amazing and we love sharing their stories with the world. We’ll have lots of different programmes for people to enjoy and a few surprises along the way. I’m a big fan of a birthday - I always try on something special and we’ll be doing everything that we can to get everyone involved in celebrating BBC Northern Ireland’s first 100th birthday.”