The BBC’s hot new police drama is set and was entirely filmed in Belfast.
Written by former BBC Spotlight and Panorama journalists turned screenwriters Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn (The Salisbury Poisonings), the drama revolves around a squad of new recruits serving their probation in Belfast’s Police force
The six-episode police drama was shot entirely in the Northern Ireland capital, and Dundonald’s Coopers Mill and Bangor were among locations used when filming got under way in February 2022.
Speaking about filming there, actor Nathan Braniff told the BBC: “I’ve lived in Belfast for most of my life and that was the main draw for me.
“First of all that a show like this was being made in Belfast.
“There have been other police dramas set in Northern Ireland but they haven’t focused on what makes policing in Northern Ireland so different.”
Commenting on specific shoots, he said filming on the streets of Belfast was particularly “enjoyable”.
“The first one which was still early on the shoot was the police chase where I jump out of the car and chase this guy down the side streets of the city centre and the way they filmed it was amazing,” he said.
“They had three guys on a quad bike with the camera facing me, so I was sprinting around side alleys in Belfast chasing this quad. That was so interesting. All the firearms stuff was amazing, being there doing the real tests and shooting real weapons these guys practise with.
“Another good one is a scene where Gerry and I have to give CPR, it was really difficult scene to do, to put yourself in the place where it’s life or death. It was quite crazy. We had real life paramedics standing but to make sure we were doing everything right and we had plastic bodies to practise on. That was so interesting to learn and do.”
What is it about?
The drama follows Grace (Siân Brooke), a mother of a teenage boy, has made the decision in her forties to leave her steady job as a social worker to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Having previously worked in social care she straddles a fine line between the personal and professional. It’s the biggest gamble of her life, and just a few weeks into the job, she’s making so many mistakes that her decision no longer looks like a winning bet.
Her fellow rookies are Annie (Katherine Devlin), who struggles with the fact that her chosen path may mean having to leave everything she’s ever known behind, and Tommy (Nathan Braniff), who is desperate to prove himself, despite being disastrously inept at the practical side of frontline response policing.
All three are new police officers in their probation period with the PSNI, the odds are at least one of them isn’t going to last. The pressure is immense, but if they succumb to it, they won’t survive. Often the rookie officers don’t know the extent of the peril they are in, or whom they can trust.
Blue Lights kicks off on BBC One on March 27, 2023 at 9pm, with all six episodes available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.