Northern Ireland news

BBC drama 'Bloodlands' to return for second series

Tom Brannick is played by James Nesbitt. Picture by Steffan Hill

SUNDAY night thriller Bloodlands is to return for a second series, after the biggest BBC drama launch in Northern Ireland on record.

It launched with an average of 8.2 million viewers.

In the north, the premiere episode had a 52 per cent consolidated audience share (live and time-shifted viewing).

Following the success, the BBC has ordered a second series from writer Chris Brandon, for who Bloodlands is his first original drama commission.

He described the response from audiences as "phenomenal" and paid tribute to "James Nesbitt's astounding performance, and the excellent work of his fellow cast and crew".

The critically acclaimed `Irish-noir' drama which has kept viewers hooked for the past four weeks concluded last night, as audiences were shocked by the revelations about the complex character of DCI Tom Brannick and what his future might entail.

Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said they were "overwhelmed by the audience response to Bloodlands and are thrilled to announce that the series is returning", praising Brandon's "skills as a dramatist" and Nesbitt's "virtuoso performance".

Executive producer Jed Mercurio said fans will be rewarded "with another twisty case for Brannick and co".

Nesbitt promised the next series will "reveal even more about Tom Brannick".

The cat-and-mouse thriller is rooted in Northern Ireland and filming will take place once again in Belfast and the surrounding areas, including Strangford Lough.

It is the latest commission to be announced as part of the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen Partnership Agreement, which will itself soon to be renewed for its third term and helps content filmed and set in Northern Ireland reach audiences across the UK and internationally.

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