BBC orders further two series of hit Belfast police drama Blue Lights

Drama slate also includes The Listeners, a novel adaptation made by Poor Things producers Element Pictures

The BBC has ordered two more series of Belfast drama Blue Lights and announced details of an upcoming drama made by Oscar-nominated Poor Things producers Element Pictures as part of its new drama slate.

Blue Lights, a “gripping and darkly funny” Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) drama created and written by Irish duo Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, will return for a third and fourth run, the BBC said, after its second series airs this spring.

Its first series, made for the BBC by Two Cities Television, launched to more than seven million viewers last year, making it the biggest television drama series in Northern Ireland in 2023. More than half of its audience in the first 28 days came from the BBC iPlayer, an increasingly important metric for the BBC, while it was subsequently acquired and aired by RTÉ.

Seána Kerslake, star of Ballywalter and Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, and Seamus O’Hara, who appeared in Oscar-winning short film An Irish Goodbye, will feature in the second series.


Mr Lawn and Mr Patterson, investigative journalists turned screenwriters, said they were “thrilled” the BBC was committing to Blue Lights with a further two-series order.

“From the beginning, we wanted to write a show that had scale and ambition in its storytelling, and this decision gives us everything we need to do that,” they said.

The drama, which in the first series followed three PSNI recruits and their colleagues based in a Belfast police station and its often fraught environs, has already been distributed internationally to the US, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

The BBC’s drama slate, meanwhile, also includes Manchester divorce lawyer series The Split Up, a spin-off from Abi Morgan’s The Split that has been created and written by Irish screenwriter Ursula Rani Sharma, as well as The Listeners, a series made by Oscar nominees Element Pictures.

Starring Rebecca Hall, this adaptation of the novel by Canadian author Jordan Tannahill centres on a popular English teacher who begins to hear a low humming sound that no one else around her can hear.

Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, co-founders of Element, are among the executive producers of The Listeners, in which Hall’s character sees the balance of her life increasingly upset by this seemingly innocuous noise.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics