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Keepin 'Er Country: BBC on why they swapped Lynette for Sheridan

Lynette Fay's original voiceover was replaced by narration from Sheridan Smith for the BBC Three broadcast
Brendan Hughes

THE BBC has explained why it dropped local broadcaster Lynette Fay in favour of actress Sheridan Smith as narrator for hit show Keepin 'Er Country.

The acclaimed programme on the north's rural jiving scene was broadcast on BBC Three on Wednesday following its successful Northern Ireland debut last year.

But some northern viewers were surprised that Lynette's Co Tyrone brogue had been replaced with narration from English actress Sheridan Smith.

Yesterday the BBC explained the reason for the change ahead of Keepin 'Er Country's broadcast in Britain.

"BBC Three were delighted to bring this Northern Ireland-based programme to a UK-wide audience," a spokesman said.

"Sheridan Smith was used as narrator because she is a well-known voice on BBC Three and across the UK, and has a family background in country music."

Keepin 'Er Country received praise from viewers in Britain, although some were left baffled by 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!"

BBC Radio Ulster presenter Lynette took her omission from the BBC Three airing in good humour.

Tweeting a snap of yesterday's Irish News coverage, she said online: "Look Sheridan Smith we're on page three in today's Irish News – when are you coming over for a country night out?"

Keepin 'Er Country followed the fortunes of jivers and country music lovers from towns and villages across the north.

It 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's success has spawned a new dedicated six-part series scheduled for broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland in the spring – with Lynette Fay reprising her voiceover role.

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