8 Ways Belfast Is Rocking The Crime Genre

And we’ve done it again. BBC drama Bloodlands is already being heralded a huge success by critics and viewers alike, returning the spotlight front and centre onto Belfast as the go to place for Crime Drama. So, why is it that our wee city so often leads the pack when it comes to society’s most consumed genre?

1. We have form

From James Mason’s performance in the iconic 1947 film adaptation of F.L. Green’s,Odd Man Out (though many would argue that The Crown Bar was the real star of the show), to the prolific and inspired output of Colin Bateman, Alan Cubitt’s, darkly addictive, The Fall, Jed Mercurio’s, expertly conceived, Line of Duty and the latest series of ITV’s Marcella, Belfast has been no stranger to our screens throughout the years, most notably in recent years. Through the works of Steve Cavanagh, Stuart Neville, Sharon Dempsey, James Murphy and Kelly Creighton, naming but a few, its writers have been no stranger to our bookshelves either.

2. Belfast’s Got Talent

With a very healthy and hugely talented local crime fiction writing scene, an abundance of amazing actors and a vibrant and highly proficient group of media production creatives, we have the perfect blend of skills, experience and drive to create compelling content within the crime genre, as we have proven time and again.

3. Location

Belfast, with its iconic landmarks, modern cityscape and richness in location prospects befitting the crime genre, makes for an ideal location. We also have a seat of expertise and experience in TV and film production as can be seen from the growth of our studio industry, most notably Titanic Studios. 

4. The People

Viewers love the Belfast accent, we know that, and thanks to Adrian Dunbar, they’ve come to love our quirky turns of phrase too. We’ve also come to know that the people of Belfast have embraced the fact that the city has become a media production hub, allowing us to further showcase our famous hospitality, humour and friendliness to a worldwide audience.

5. We Have The Wow Factor

Despite having always been there, Belfast has become an,”on trend” UK setting for film, TV and books. Having hidden in plain sight, or perhaps always being too directly associated with, “the troubles”, post conflict Belfast has clearly demonstrated that we have a plethora of captivating stories to tell. We’ve also shown that we can more than hold our own in that regard when compared to other major UK cities.

6. It’s A Huge Part of Our Culture

Virtually every literary, film or book based event in the festival calendar has an element of the Crime genre within it’s programming. With Noireland, we even have our own festival completely dedicated to it, and with the Northern Ireland Festival of Writing, we’re supporting the next generation of creatives within the genre to come through. We even have a Crime Fiction related walking tour.

7. No Alibis

We have No Alibis bookstore. Renowned worldwide as a Mecca for Crime Fiction Writing, David Torrans and his team have been instrumental in keeping the spotlight on Belfast within the genre and in supporting local talent to thrive.  

8. We Have The Arts Council

The support, both financial and through mentorship and encouragement, provided by Arts Council NI has been invaluable to NI creatives throughout the years and especially in the last year where artists and creatives have struggled as the result of the pandemic. Such support has provided a much needed lifeline to those working within the Crime genre as well as those beyond it.

With us all, no doubt, eagerly awaiting James Nesbitt providing a highlight to our Sunday night viewing in the next season of, Bloodlands, I think it would be fair to say that Belfast Crime Fiction is in rude health. Anyway, Why wouldn’t it be? To again paraphrase the great Ted Hastings, ‘Do you think we came up the Lagan in a bubble?”

Written by Crime author James Murphy