Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About, BBC1

21 April 2014
Michael Smiley left Northern Ireland in 1983. Now, more than 30 years later, his journey comes full cycle and he’s got ‘Something to Ride Home About’.

The Holywood man lives in London nowadays and is a star of stand up, comedy, TV and film - but his true love is cycling. In a new three-part BBC Northern Ireland TV series, Michael pays a visit back to his old stomping grounds and gets on his bike to give viewers his own unique comic insight into the places and the people who share his zeal for two wheels.

Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About, starts on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday, April 21 at 10.20pm following Michael as he indulges his passion for cycling.

On his travels he rides some of the most stunning local scenery, tries some alternative cycling disciplines and meets the people who share his passion for bikes including a world record holder; a gold medallist- and BBC NI Sports Personality of The Year 2013- Martyn Irvine; and a group of steady ladies.

Michael begins his journey in Belfast and visits St George’s Market – a place with close ties to his own family. With an interest in cycling history, in Ormeau Park Michael meets one of only six Penny Farthing owners in Northern Ireland. Will Michael swap his road wheels for the iconic high wheeler?

Viewers get a sneak peek behind the doors of a community cycle workshop which provides repairs and servicing for bikes in the city and shares Michael’s passion for two wheels helping to keep some famous frames on the road.

And after a visit to his home town of Holywood, Michael gets to meet keen cyclist, acclaimed photographer and one of his own personal heroes, Bill Kirk, in Newtownards.

During the series, made for BBC Northern Ireland by independent production company, Green Inc, Michael will be visiting places the length and breadth of Northern Ireland and getting on his bike while there to get a closer look and meet the locals. These include; experiencing a hairy moment with a ladies cycling club in Armagh, dropping in on a world record holder in Lisburn, putting himself on trial against the clock in Dungannon and meeting a fellow comic on the banks of the Foyle.

Producer Chris Jones, from Green Inc said: 

"In my opinion, Smiley is our finest actor and funniest comedian. We were thrilled to be working with him on this series that lets Michel revel in two things he’s brilliant at: cycling and telling funny stories. It’s his first outing as a presenter on a BBC NI series and you won’t need to be a cyclist to enjoy it. Yes, although Smiley is a keen cyclist he didn't cover the full length and breadth of Northern Ireland but he certainly brings us to some breath-taking and interesting places and we get to meet some very fascinating people with great stories to tell with a lot of laughs guaranteed along the way with Michael. Maybe it might inspire some people to get on their bike.”

The three-part series, Michael Smiley: Something to Ride Home About starts on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday, April 21 at 10.20pm.

Programme can be viewed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b041m5f5/Michael_Smiley_Something_to_Ride_Home_About_Episode_1/