Northern Ireland

Give My Head Peace returns to BBC Northern Ireland this autumn

The Hole in the Wall Gang in studio
Image caption The Hole in The Wall gang are back for a one-off special

Twenty one years on from their first television appearance in Two Ceasefires and a Wedding, The Hole in the Wall Gang are returning to the small screen for a one-off special this autumn.

A brand new episode of the much loved Give My Head Peace, will launch a new season of comedy from BBC Northern Ireland.

Viewers can expect everything from sitcoms, sketch shows and stand-up, all with one thing in common - that unique Northern Ireland sense of humour.

The new Give My Head Peace episode will be filmed in front of a studio audience next month, with actors Tim McGarry, Olivia Nash, Damon Quinn, Michael McDowell, Alexandra Ford and Marty Reid all returning to their roles.

We will catch up with the gang after an absence of nine years and see how they are getting on in modern-day Northern Ireland.

Tim McGarry, one of the original writers and performers of the show said he was "delighted that Give My Head Peace is returning to our screens".

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Media captionGive My Head Peace returns to BBC NI

"BBC Northern Ireland has consistently been the only local broadcaster that has championed comedy in all its forms-from sitcom and sketch formats to stand-up and panel shows," he said.

"For many years across radio, TV and online BBC NI has encouraged and supported writers and performers. It's been great fun being part of it."

The special will be accompanied by a Beginners' Guide to Give My Head Peace, which will look at the sitcom's history from its debut on BBC Radio Ulster in the 1980s, through to its first television appearance in 1995 and on to the farewell special in 2007.

Blaming and shaming

The new season of home-grown comedy will include a new series of The Blame Game on BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Radio Ulster.

It will start with a 10th anniversary recording of the panel show at the Waterfront Hall.

Patrick Kielty will also be back on BBC Northern Ireland with a second series of Delete Delete Delete for TV audiences and his new self-penned sitcom Big Country, which will make its debut on BBC Radio Ulster.

Image caption Patrick Kielty delves into the browsing history of his guests on his new series of Delete, Delete, Delete

Delete Delete Delete will see the seasoned presenter invite special guests on the programme to grill them over their browser history.

Kielty's radio sitcom Big Country follows the fortunes of a small time farming family as they attempt to hold onto their struggling border farm.

The cast will include Patrick Kielty, Conleth Hill, Pauline McLynn, Ciaran McMenamin, Amy Huberman and Deirdre O'Kane. The comedy was originally piloted at the BBC Northern Ireland comedy showcase before being commissioned for BBC Radio Ulster.

Young faces

It won't only be familiar faces and voices this autumn, new comedy talent will also get their chance to stand up and be counted on radio, television and online.

Fresh from presenting Live At The Sunflower comedy showcase series on BBC Radio Ulster, Shane Todd will have his own BBC Radio Ulster series, bringing listeners his own brand of observational sketches and stand-up.

Image caption Shane Todd will have his own BBC Radio Ulster Series

Late Licence, the series of comedy shorts showcasing new and emerging local comedy writers and performers will return for a second series on BBC Two Northern Ireland in early 2017.

Susan Lovell, Head of TV Commissioning for BBC Northern Ireland, is proud of the new comedy slate: "BBC Northern Ireland has a strong commitment to nurturing great local comedy talent, we're gifted with some incredible talent," she said.

"With this new season we're excited to be welcoming back some familiar faces as well as showcasing some promising new talent. I think we've got everything from the edgy to the entertaining, the sharp to the silly and the fresh to the old favourites."

Audience applications

Audiences can get in on the comedy action early by applying to be part of the studio audience for the recording of the new Give My Head Peace special on Sunday 25 September. You can apply for tickets online here.

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