‘Hame’ is where the heart is found

Presenters Ruth Sanderson and Mark Thompson
Presenters Ruth Sanderson and Mark Thompson

A new TV series which begins this Sunday night aims to showcase the people and places at the heart of Ulster-Scots communities across Ulster.

‘Hame’ explores craft, music, heritage, history and faith, in six of the Province’s small towns and villages.

The series, made by Below the Radar, is presented by Mark Thompson and Ruth Sanderson.

Well known in the wider Ulster-Scots community as both a musician and blogger, this is Mark’s first time as a presenter (though he is no stranger to television as a contributor to programmes).

Ruth Sanderson is known to viewers as a reporter on BBC NI’s Home Ground and also on BBC Radio 4 where she is a regular presenter for On Your Farm.

Born in a Presbyterian manse in rural Co Down, Ruth attended the University of St Andrews and has spent most of the last decade working in England for BBC Radio 4.

She told the News Letter: “The countryside in Northern Ireland is fizzing with things that are happening which maybe just go under the radar.

“It’s been a real privilege to be able to eavesdrop, to spy on people’s lives and find out what makes a place tick.”

The presenter said her biggest ‘wow’ moment on the show came when she learnt Raphoe was home to scores of world-class badminton players.

As well as Raphoe’s propensity for badminton, the programme also explores human interest stories in Cullybackey in Co Antrim, Markethill in Co Armagh, the Foyle Valley in Co Tyrone and Articlave in Co Londonderry.

The shows kicks off in Portavogie, an area co presenter Mark Thompson is very familiar with.

He said: “I get to invite you into my own ‘hame’ in the Ards – to wander along familiar shores among ‘big stanes’, to hear fishermen sing as they have been doing for generations, to see the most exquisite world class embroidery produced by their wives and daughters.”

Explaining the series’ title, he said: “Hame means so much more to an Ulster-Scot than home ever will.

“It’s a deeper idea, it takes you back. That’s why the word recurs so much in Ulster-Scots tradition, in songs, poems and stories. It’s a mood, a feeling, an emotion, it’s deep and special.

“I hope we’ve caught some of that notion in the series - through the folk from places that are special in their own quiet ways.”

• Hame begins on Sunday on BBC Two Northern Ireland at 10pm