Keepin 'Er Country: British viewers complain about Tyrone dancers' accents

Keepin 'Er Country's Tammy Love, Enda Lynch, Eleanor Magennis, Tommy Breslin and Aileen Murphy
Brendan Hughes

IT wowed television viewers in the north last year with its hilarious insight into the rural jiving and country music scene.

And now BBC Northern Ireland's Keepin 'Er Country has received praise from audiences in Britain after being broadcast on BBC Three.

But some bemused British viewers found themselves switching on subtitles after failing to understand the broad accents from Ireland's northern shores.

One said on Twitter: "Loving Keepin 'Er Country but can't understand a bloody word! What did he say?"

Another wrote: "I think I'll need to put the subtitles on with this programme!"

Viewers were also amazed to witness the growing popularity of jiving for people of all ages across the Irish Sea.

"So weird to think that this all goes on in our country haha, completely different world," one wrote online.

It appears TV bosses may have also been keen to avoid the programme being lost in translation during its BBC Three debut on Wednesday night.

Local broadcaster Lynette Fay provided the original voiceover for the show when it first aired last year as part of BBC NI's True North series.

But for the broadcast in Britain, her gentle Co Tyrone brogue was replaced with narration from English actress Sheridan Smith.

Fellow BBC Radio Ulster presenter John Toal was among those who expressed surprise over Lynette's voice being ditched for the airing across the water.

He wrote on Twitter: "Whaaaat? The brilliant Keepin 'Er Country doc now on BBC3 and no Lynette Fay?"

But Lynette took her omission in good humour, tweeting in response: "Nope, I'm the Sheridan Smith understudy! She's brilliant."

Keepin 'Er Country generated a huge reaction on social media when it first aired in Northern Ireland in April last year, with many heralding it as "pure comedy gold".

The show followed the fortunes of jivers and country music lovers from towns and villages across the north.

Among them was Enda Lynch (24), from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, who was learning to jive to pluck up the courage to ask a woman for a dance.

"If you can't jive you can't get a woman," he said.

Farmer's daughter Eleanor Magennis (22), from Rathfriland in Co Down, told how she's more interested in beef farmers than dairy.

And father-of-10 Tommy Breslin, from Lisnaskea in Co Fermanagh, was also looking for love as he went out jiving alongside his daughters.

He expressed his displeasure at some women's efforts to look their best on the dance floor, saying: "They would have you wrecked with the tan, coming off onto your shirt."

The programme was nominated in the Comedy and Entertainment category at the RTS Northern Ireland Programme Awards.

At the time of its debut Lynette Fay said she had "never seen a reaction like it" to any programme she had worked on.

It was originally broadcast as a standalone show as part of BBC NI's True North, a series of documentaries looking at life in modern-day Northern Ireland.

But the episode's success has spawned a new dedicated six-part series. It is scheduled to be broadcast on BBCNI in the spring and will feature country music stars such as Nathan Carter.

The country music craze sweeping Ireland was also highlighted last autumn in the RTÉ series Stetsons and Stilettos.


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