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Northern Ireland on screen: The films and TV shows coming your way in 2022

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 27/12/2021 Peter McGoran

Next year is set to be another busy one for Northern Ireland on the big and small screens, as audiences can expect to see plenty of new productions being filmed here, as well the return of much loved shows.

In an end-of-year recap statement shared by Northern Ireland Screen, the organisation revealed some of the highlights to look forward to in 2022.

Among them are the return of Derry Girls for its third and final season, the launch of a new drama based on serving police officers in Northern Ireland, the return of James Nesbitt in Bloodlands, and the release of Conversations With Friends - the follow-up to acclaimed 2020 drama Normal People.

As well as that, Northern Ireland Screen have revealed that both of Northern Ireland's major film studios - Titanic Studios and Belfast Harbour Studios - are booked up for "much of 2022", and said that there's more exciting projects on the way which have yet to be officially announced.

As we head into the final days of 2021, here's what to look forward to next year:

Bloodlands

James Nesbitt as Tom Brannick, filming in Belfast Met's Titanic Quarter campus. © Stefan Hill James Nesbitt as Tom Brannick, filming in Belfast Met's Titanic Quarter campus.

Four-part drama Bloodlands set records as being the most-watched BBC local drama in Northern Irish history. After its climactic ending, the show is set to return for a second season, with NI Screen revealing that filming will begin in early 2022.

They said: "Sunday nights at 9pm on BBC One were dominated by Northern Ireland content with Bloodlands, starring James Nesbitt, becoming the biggest new BBC drama launch since June 2020 with an average 8.2 million viewers.

"In Northern Ireland, the premiere episode had a 52% consolidated audience share, making it the highest BBC drama to launch locally on record. Following this success, the BBC ordered a second series from local writer Chris Brandon, Bloodlands series 2 will film in early 2022."

Belfast

Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Jude Hill and Judi Dench in Belfast. © Rob Youngson / Focus Features Jamie Dornan, Ciaran Hinds, Jude Hill and Judi Dench in Belfast.

Having already been released in America - and having already won multiple awards - Kenneth Branagh's Belfast is set to arrive on Northern Irish screens in January 2022.

The premiere for the film took place in November, with much of the cast making an appearance.

NI Screen said: "Northern Ireland Screen’s Honorary President Sir Kenneth Branagh’s brought his Oscar-tipped film Belfast home for its Irish premiere at a star-studded event in the Waterfront Hall in November to open the Belfast Film Festival. The film is a poignant story of love, laughter and loss in one boy’s childhood, amid the social and political tumult of the late 1960s. It stars Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds and introduces 10-year-old Northern Ireland actor Jude Hill. The film, recently nominated for seven Golden Globes and eleven Critics Choice Awards, opens in cinemas on 21 st January."


Video: Derry Girls season 2 (Irish Mirror)

Blue Lights (new police drama)

Northern Ireland Screen revealed that a new police drama is in the works, which was created by Northern Irish writers-director duo Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn. The duo received critical acclaim for their mini-series The Salisbury Poisonings, so we're expecting big things from this new show.

NI Screen said: "There is more police drama in the pipeline with BBC commissioning Blue Lights, an original series created by Northern Ireland writer-directors Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn (The Sailsbury Poisonings).

"Based on extensive research and interviews, and told with a caustic wit, the series was inspired by the experiences of serving police officers in Northern Ireland. Blue Lights will begin filming in early 2022."

Rough (Oscar-tipped short film)

Another one from Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn, Rough is a short film about Belfast gangsters passing a death sentence on a dog. It has been talked about as a possible contender for the Best Short Film Oscar.

Here's what NI Screen said: "Rough, a short film about Belfast gangsters passing a death sentence on a dog, also written and directed by Adam and Declan, took home the award for Best Short Film at IFTA. Produced by Gallagher Films the film also won a Silver Dragon for Best Fiction Short at Krakow Film Festival making it eligible to enter the Oscars."

Derry Girls (final season)

The cast of Derry Girls. © World Productions/BBC One/PA Wire The cast of Derry Girls.

Get the tissues at the ready, as we're no doubt set to say an emotional farewell to the Derry Girls next year. The internationally successful show will broadcast its third and final season in 2022.

NI Screen said: "The third and final series of Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls is currently filming and is sure to be another huge hit with viewers when it is broadcast on Channel 4 in 2022."

Conversations With Friends (follow-up to Normal People)

After the runaway success of Normal People, based on the bestseller by Irish writer Sally Rooney, the second adaption of her works is set to be released in early 2022. It was filmed partly in Northern Ireland.

NI Screen said: "Sally Rooney’s much anticipated Conversations with Friends which was partly filmed on location in Northern Ireland this year will also be released in 2022. Commissioned by BBC Three in the UK and Hulu in the US the 12-part drama from Element Pictures follows Frances (Alison Oliver), a 21-year-old college student, as she navigates a series of relationships that force her to confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time."

Tom Jones (New rom-com filmed in Belfast in 2021)

A new miniseries, based on The History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, was filmed in autumn 2021 in Belfast, and is set to be released next year.

NI Screen gave details about the series, writing: "Tom Jones, the 'mother of all romcoms' filmed in and around Belfast in autumn 2021. Solly McLeod (The Rising) stars as the hero, Tom, alongside Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as the heroin, Sophia Western.

"The four-part television miniseries from Mammoth Screen for ITV and Masterpiece re-imagines Henry Fielding’s novel, The History of Tom jones, A Foundling and also stars Emmy-winning Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso)."

The Northman

Major Hollywood stars, including Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke, were spotted filming in Belfast and beyond last year, for Robert Eggers new drama The Northman.

The film is set to be released in April 2022, with NI Screen commenting: "The Northman, which filmed at Belfast Harbour Studios at the end of 2020, will be released in cinemas in April 2022. The epic Viking revenge saga set at the turn of the 10th century, directed by Robert Eggers and produced by local man Mark Huffam, stars Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and Björk."

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