Belfast Telegraph

The One Show’s Alex and Matt kick off week of Northern Ireland shows at Carrickfergus

By Christine Carrigan

Carrickfergus Castle faced a different type of invasion yesterday as a BBC crew infiltrated the Norman fortification to broadcast The One Show live from Northern Ireland for the first time.

Fortunately for the residents of Carrick, it was a friendly takeover - and one that puts Northern Ireland in the spotlight on one of the BBC's most popular shows.

The five-night live tour - the 'Big Causeway Crawl' - will see presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones making their way along the Causeway Coastal Route from Carrickfergus to the Giant's Causeway, stopping off at Cushendall, Ballycastle and Portrush along the way.

The tour will showcase the beautiful landscape, and spread the word about what attractions the area holds for visitors.

Last night's show brought back to life the almost 800-year history of the magnificent castle, construction of which began in 1177 under Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy.

Viewers were treated to a battle re-enactment, learning about the gory history of the castle - including the 'murder hole' through which would-be invaders could be attacked with rocks and boiling tar - as well as learning about the Queen's State visit in 1961, when she docked at Carrick harbour.

A statue near the castle commemorates the arrival of another monarch - William of Orange - at the site in 1690.

Presenter Baker last visited the stunning sights of the north coast a few years ago when he was cycling as part of a challenge to raise money for BBC's Children in Need.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of last night's show, Matt expressed his excitement on returning to the north coast.

"I have not been back in Northern Ireland since I did the Rickshaw challenge for charity a few years ago. I am excited to see the Giant's Causeway in daylight this time."

One Show editor Sandy Smith said: "We have been doing The One Show for 10 years now, but this is the first time that we have ever done five consecutive live nights.

"We chose Northern Ireland because it is a part of the UK that shows like us don't really come to. We are all very excited to be here.

"Alex is a huge Game Of Thrones fan and so we have a guest from the programme coming on to the show on Thursday night, so that will be fun."

More than four million viewers nationwide are estimated to be tuning into images of the Causeway Coast this week, and discovering the beauty of Northern Ireland.

Tourism Ireland said that it was "delighted" with the attention The One Show will bring to the province.

Archaeologist Stefanie McMullen, who works for the Department for Communities, featured on last night's programme.

"I was delighted that The One Show broadcast live from historic Carrickfergus Castle," she said.

"The castle has been in State care since 1928 and I hope that this exposure will bring lots more visitors to enjoy this iconic fortification.

"It is the best preserved medieval castle in Ireland and I would encourage everyone to come and pay a visit."

Belfast Telegraph


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