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Northern Ireland company making travel show with Father Ted star Ardal O'Hanlon

By Margaret Canning

Newry TV production company Big Mountain has won a major deal to make a Channel 4 travel show about Ireland.

Ardal's Ireland will be hosted by Father Ted actor and comedian Ardal O'Hanlon. And to take him around the Emerald Isle, he will rely on an 1840s guidebook written by Mr and Mrs S C Hall - commissioned to tempt English visitors to Ireland.

Filming has already taken place in locations around the Republic. During filming in Dublin, the actor helped repaint postboxes after they were turned red ahead of commemorations for the Easter Rising centenary.

Over the next few weeks, crews will accompany Monaghan-born O'Hanlon around Northern Ireland tourist haunts.

Big Mountain has also made Genealogy Roadshow for US TV - season three is currently being aired - and BBC 2 programme Opry an Iuir, a country music show filmed in Newry.

Jane Kelly, an executive producer at Big Mountain, said the programme was a "substantial commission".

The company uses betweeen 10 and 100 crew members on its programmes..

In 2012 Big Mountain received £80,000 from Invest NI towards a total investment of £480,000 to help its bid to develop programme formats to sell overseas.

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