The Estate to go nationwide

Martin Laverty from Ballysally.MARK JAMIESON.
Martin Laverty from Ballysally.MARK JAMIESON.
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The BBC NI documentary on Coleraine’s Ballysally estate will be shown across the UK tonight (Tuesday) for the first time.

And the programme’s popular characters - Martin, Kyle and Kerry-Ann - will be pitted against glossy US drama Desperate Housewives, showing on Channel 4 at the same time.

The controversial but hugely popular eight part series was seen by almost 300,000 people, according to Beeb figures.

Delighted BBC bosses have now decided to put out the show across the UK.

The documentary raised hackles with its depiction of alcoholism, self harm and suicide and truancy - but also depicted families trying to make ends meet under difficult financial circumstances.

No additional subtitles will be used for the network screenings a BBC spokesperson said.

Doug Carnegie, executive producer of The Estate, said he was delighted that the Northern Ireland series would be shown across the UK.

“We are also pleased a wider audience will see the resilience, humour and pragmatism of this Coleraine community in what has been a tough year for the whole community.

“While some have highlighted the problems there for all to see, the production team who worked in Ballysally for close on 18 months were more struck by the many acts of kindness and good neighbourliness they saw.”

The Estate is on BBC1 on Tuesday at 11.35pm.