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BBC Northern Ireland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC Northern Ireland
TV stationsBBC One Northern Ireland
BBC Two Northern Ireland
Radio stationsBBC Radio Ulster
BBC Radio Foyle
HeadquartersBroadcasting House, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast, Northern Ireland
AreaNorthern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
Official website

BBC Northern Ireland (Irish: BBC Thuaisceart Éireann; Ulster-Scots: BBC Norlin Airlan) is a division of the BBC and the main public broadcaster in Northern Ireland.

It is one of the four BBC national regions, together with the BBC English Regions, BBC Scotland and BBC Cymru Wales. Based at Broadcasting House, Belfast, it provides television, radio, online and interactive television content. BBC Northern Ireland currently employs 700 people, largely in Belfast.

BBC Northern Ireland has two TV channels - BBC One Northern Ireland, BBC Two Northern Ireland; and two radio stations - BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle.


The logo of BBC Northern Ireland between 1988 and 1997.
The logo of BBC Northern Ireland between 1988 and 1997.
Broadcasting House, Belfast, Headquarters of the BBC in Northern Ireland.
Broadcasting House, Belfast, Headquarters of the BBC in Northern Ireland.

BBC Northern Ireland operates two television stations: BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Two Northern Ireland. BBC Northern Ireland funds an opt-out service with the majority of this output made in the independent sector. Some output that originates in London (so-called 'network' programmes) are time-shifted to create appropriate slots for programming that is more appealing to the BBC audience in NI.

Prior to 27 October 2006, BBC Two NI was a digital only service while BBC Two Northern Ireland was available on analogue transmission. Since 28 October 2006, BBC Two Northern Ireland has been the on-air name for both services which have been merged.

BBC Northern Ireland has its own team of continuity announcers which introduce the vast majority of programmes on BBC One and BBC Two in Northern Ireland.

Regional television

  • BBC Newsline is the regional news service. In 2021 the main presenter is Donna Traynor. The main bulletin is from 18.30–19.00 with shorter bulletins at 13.30 and 22.30. Summaries are also broadcast during BBC Breakfast and the early afternoon. BBC NI produces some regional political programmes, notably Spotlight, The View and Nolan Live.

Network Output

As well as programmes intended purely for an audience in NI, BBC Northern Ireland also funds or often co-funds output for pan-UK consumption on both the player and other BBC channels. in 2021 network output is principally in drama.[1]

It was announced in June 2019 that the BBC quiz show Mastermind would now be produced from BBC NI.[2]

BBC Northern Ireland is also involved more occasionally in co-productions with other broadcasting networks, most notably with the Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

Republic of Ireland


BBC Northern Ireland operates two radio stations:

  • BBC Radio Ulster, on 92–95 FM, (and previously on 1341KHz Medium Wave, that is now discontinued), which broadcasts throughout Northern Ireland, and
  • BBC Radio Foyle, on 93.1 FM and 792 Medium Wave, which broadcasts to the North West of Northern Ireland

BBC Northern Ireland takes part in the 'Regionalisation' of some of the BBC's national radio output. From the late 1990s until 2012, for example, Radio 1 split the home nations on Thursday morning from midnight to 2–am, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland broadcasting their own shows to showcase regional talent. The Radio 1 session from Northern Ireland was last presented by Phil Taggart from Omagh.


BBC Northern Ireland's online service provides News, Sport, Schools, Learning and Programme information for television and radio programmes. It provides a streaming audio service for Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle as well as every programme on demand for up to a week after transmission. is part of BBC Online and operated from the Belfast base. It also provides multi platform interactivity for TV programmes including the annual Schools' Cup Rugby union and Gaelic Athletic Association finals.




Television news bulletins

  • Ulster Mirror (1950s)
  • Scene Around Six (1969 – September 1984)
  • Inside Ulster (September 1984 – 12 February 1996)
  • Newsline 6.30/Newsline/BBC Newsline (12 February 1996 to date)

Selection of network programmes


BBC NI has, at various times, over the last decades of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st, provided live and pre-recorded coverage of all three major male sports in NI - Irish League soccer, Ulster Rugby and GAA. In the increasingly expensive world of sports rights and contracts the regional output has never covered all three concurrently but covers the sports extensively in radio news bulletins.


BBC Northern Ireland broadcasts almost exclusively in English, but there is some output in Irish Gaelic and Ulster Scots. Radio Ulster carries a daily programme in Irish and there is an Irish language section on BBC Northern Ireland's website. Northern Ireland Screen helps co-fund television output in both Irish[6] and Ulster Scots.[7]


BBC Blackstaff House
BBC Blackstaff House

The BBC television and radio stations are broadcast primarily from the Divis (500 kW), Limavady and Brougher Mountain transmitters. Both transmitters receive the BBC stations via a satellite feeds and each transmitter has a wealth of relay transmitters to provide analogue service to areas not served by their respective main transmitter.

BBC Northern Ireland have a radio link from their studios in Belfast which allows mobile on-location news crews to hear the studio; the test tone is known as the "commbeep".

TV Studios

BBC Northern Ireland has three main television studios located in Belfast. There are two small studios located in the BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast. These are home to BBC Northern Ireland's regional news and current affairs programmes. They are around 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) each and are called Studio B and Studio 1.

The largest of the studios is called Studio A which is located in the BBC Blackstaff House on Great Victoria Street in Belfast. The studio measures 6,000 sq ft (560 m2). Studio A has been home to the award winning local sitcom Give My Head Peace. Nolan Live for BBC One NI airs live from Studio A.

BBC NI broadcasters

Former BBC NI broadcasters

Noel Thompson

Current BBC NI broadcasters


  1. ^ "Bloodlands airs on BBC One from Sunday 21st February". Northern Ireland Screen. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  2. ^ Carrigan, Christine (7 February 2019). "Quiz show Mastermind is relocating to Northern Ireland". BelfastLive. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Saorview Combi Channels". Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Saorview/ Freeview Overspill Advice". Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  5. ^ BBC Northern Ireland Drama
  6. ^ "Forléargas | Overview". Northern Ireland Screen. Retrieved 8 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Overview". Northern Ireland Screen. Retrieved 8 June 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 October 2021, at 11:10
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