Northern Ireland

Blue Lights: Hit Belfast-based police drama commissioned for a further two series

Blue Lights series two
The hit police drama Blue Lights has been commissioned for a further two series. PICTURE CHRISTOPHER BARR (BBC/Two Cities Television)

Hit Belfast-based drama Blue Lights has been commissioned for a further two series, the BBC has confirmed.

The news comes before the second series of the police drama has even hit television screens.

Co-written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, the first series of the crime drama was hailed as the ‘best TV in years’ by viewers.

Blue Lights
Blue Lights proved a massive success when it hit television screens last year. PICTURE: CHRISTOPHER BARR/ BBC/Two Cities Television

In announcing the news that series three and four had been commissioned, director of BBC drama Lindsay Salt, said “some might have questioned whether it was going to connect with audiences in every part of the UK”.

“Well, it did,” she said.

The news comes just days after the corporation revealed details about the second series of Blue Lights, which is due to be broadcast in the Spring.

With a storyline centred on a violent loyalist feud, it will begin one year after the fall of the all-powerful McIntyre crime gang as seen at the end of series one, with rival gangs now competing for dominance in the city.

Seamus O'Hara in Blue Lights series two
Seamus O'Hara as Lee Thompson. PICTURE: CHRISTOPHER BARR/ BBC/Two Cities Television

Frank Blake (The Border, Normal People) will appear in the new six-part series as Constable Shane Bradley, along with Oscar-winner Seamus O’Hara (An Irish Goodbye) and Seána Kerslake (Bad Sisters, Ballywalter) as Lee Thompson and his sister, Mags. Craig McGinlay (Cobra) will play Lee’s right-hand man, Craig, and Dan Gordon (Bloodlands) appears as Mags and Lee’s Uncle Rab.

They will join returning Blue Lights cast members Siân Brooke (Grace Ellis), Martin McCann (Stevie Neil), Katherine Devlin (Annie Conlon), Nathan Braniff (Tommy Foster), Joanne Crawford (Helen McNally), Andi Osho (Sandra Cliff) and Hannah McClean (Jen Robinson).

On Wednesday, Ms Salt announced 12 new drama commissions, including Blue Lights, as part of a speech outlining her vision for BBC drama.

She said since Blue Screens had hit screens last year, it was a massive success.

“A relatively new cast, a Belfast location and the first returning series for writers Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson,” she said.

“Some might have questioned whether it was going to connect with audiences in every part of the UK.

“Well, it did: it launched to more than seven million viewers and was in the top 10 new drama series for 2023 across all broadcasters and streamers.

“And when it came to episode three – in the harrowing scene where a father takes his teenage son to be kneecapped by appointment, some might have worried that audiences would retreat.

“But the reality was the precise opposite.

“Viewers found that moment important and necessary. It was authentic storytelling at its best and the people watching could feel that.

“A situation that was painfully recognisable for one nation was shared and acknowledged by millions across the whole of the UK.

“Another moment of huge impact, burnt into our consciousness.”