Derry under the spotlight in ‘Lesser Spotted Culture’

�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - 13th January 2013. ''Joe Mahon, presenter, Lesser Spotted Ulster.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - 13th January 2013. ''Joe Mahon, presenter, Lesser Spotted Ulster.''Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

‘Lesser Spotted Culture’ - a new series from UTV celebrating Derry’s City of Culture year - kicks off next week.

The first of 12 monthly programmes will be screened on Tuesday, January 22 at 8pm.

In the first one-hour programme, presenter Joe Mahon takes viewers on an autobiographical tour of a part of the city that means a lot to him personally.

He also samples some of the musical talent nurtured by the city’s choirs, learns about the ‘Music Promise’ and meets in person some of the characters who played a role in the different phases of the city’s history.

UTV has commissioned local company Westway Films to produce the new series which highlights the wide-ranging programme of artistic activities taking place in the city.

The programmes also put the activities in the context of the history, culture and natural environment of Derry and the surrounding area.

Michael Wilson, UTV’s Managing Director of Television, said: “This new, year-long series, represents an investment of more than £1 million by UTV, in terms of programming and resources. We are delighted to be involved in the City of Culture celebrations and to underline our commitment to the area.

“UTV has been involved with life in Derry since the station opened more than 50 years ago and we have a dedicated team based in Northland Road. We also support the work of the North West Regional College and have strong links with local independent production companies including Westway and Open Reel.

“UTV’s relationship with Westway goes back to 1995 and demonstrates our continued commitment to local programming and the independent production sector in Northern Ireland.

“Joe is well known as the host on Lesser Spotted Ulster - one of the most popular TV series ever shown on UTV. We are confident that Lesser Spotted Culture will prove equally captivating and appealing for our viewers.”

Joe said: “As someone who was ‘born, bred and buttered’ here, I’ll be as anxious as any native that things go well and that the year is a great success.

“But I’ll also be keen to ensure that part of the lasting legacy 2013 leaves behind is a greater knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the history and native culture that’s been here all the while.

“As the name suggests, we’ll be retaining quite a lot of the tone, the approach and the format of ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’.

“While I will, of course, be very keen to attend some of the great events and activities that the Culture Company has planned - including the Turner Prize, Field Day Theatre productions, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil and other major highlights - I’m equally interested in what I would describe as ‘the indigenous culture of Derry~Londonderry’.”