28 January 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
‘Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About’ TX 22.20 21 April on BBC NI
16 Apr 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
After leaving Northern Ireland in 1983, comic-actor of stand-up, TV and film, Michael Smiley returns his roots after more than 30 years to indulge in his greatest passion: cycling. Three-part TV series ‘Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About’ is a Green Inc Film and Television production for BBC One Northern Ireland made with the support of Northern Ireland Screen Agency. The first episode will air next Monday.

Michael Smiley originates from Holywood, Belfast, but now resides in London. First noticed for his role as Tyres O’Flaherty in the Channel 4 sitcom ‘Spaced’, Smiley subsequently starred in ‘Creatures of Beauty’, ‘The Maltby Collection’, ‘Luther’, ‘Burke & Hare’, ‘Kill List’, ‘A Field in England’, ‘Ambassadors’ and ‘Ripper Street’. He is also known for his appearances at Edinburgh Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

In the new BBCNI series, Michael will re-visit the place he grew up in and get on his bike to give viewers his unique comic insight into places and people all across Northern Ireland. Over his travels, the viewer will see some of the stunning local scenery, and will also see different cycling disciplines and meet several passionate bikers, including a world holder, a gold medallist, and BBC NI Sports Personality of the year 2013, Martyn Irvine.

Next week’s episode will see Michael begin his journey in Belfast and visit St. George’s Market, which has close ties to his own family. He will meet one of only six Penny Farthing owners in Northern Ireland and learn about cycling history. Viewers will also get a sneak peek into a community cycle workshop that repairs and services bikes in the city, and learn about famous frames on the road. After visiting his hometown in Holywood, Michael meets keen cyclist, acclaimed photographer and his one of his personal heroes, Bill Kirk, in Newtwonards.

Some of the upcoming events of the series include an awkward moment with a ladies cycling club in Armagh, visiting a world record holder in Lisburn, putting himself against the clock in Dungannon, and meeting a fellow comic on the banks of the Foyle.

The producer of the series, Chris Jones from Green Inc., has stated: “In my opinion, Smiley is our finest actor and funniest comedian. We were thrilled to be working with him on this series that lets Michel revel in two things he’s brilliant at: cycling and telling funny stories. It’s his first outing as a presenter on a BBC NI series and you won’t need to be a cyclist to enjoy it.

“Yes, although Smiley is a keen cyclist he didn't cover the full length and breadth of Northern Ireland but he certainly brings us to some breath-taking and interesting places and we get to meet some very fascinating people with great stories to tell with a lot of laughs guaranteed along the way with Michael. Maybe it might inspire some people to get on their bike.”

‘Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About’ is written and presented by Michael Smiley. It is directed and edited by George Kane with Angus Mitchell as DOP. Marty Harrison was on sound, PJ Hart was researcher, and commissioning editor was Susan Lowell of BBC NI. Chris Jones produced with Stephen Stewart from Green Inc and Justin Binding from BBC NI as executive producers.

The three-part series starts on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday April 21 at 10.20pm.

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