Hearts and Minds (BBC)
Hearts and Minds was a politics and current affairs programme presented by Noel Thompson for BBC Northern Ireland. The show was normally broadcast on Thursday nights at 19:30 on BBC Two and 23:35 on BBC One, and on Sunday afternoons on BBC Parliament. The show often featured the main Northern Ireland politicians to discuss the biggest event in local politics of that week and was broadcast from 1996 to 2012.
An occasional section in the middle of Hearts and Minds called "If You Ask Me..." featured a journalist or commentator giving their opinion on certain events that happened in the week illustrated by the cartoons of Ian Knox. Among those to have participated were Malachi O'Doherty Fionnuala O'Connor, Liam Clarke, Alex Kane, Newton Emerson, Lindsay Allen and Fionola Meredith. At the end of the show there was a comedy sketch featuring Tim McGarry, best known for playing Da in Give My Head Peace as a Belfast black taxi driver picking up Noel Thompson from the BBC Broadcasting House in Belfast. In this sketch McGarry provided a comedic monologue discussing the weekly events.
Axing and final show
The final episode aired on 21 June 2012 with Noel Thompson chairing the show as usual and also played the original titles at the start. The show featured a look back at the past 16 years and featured a panel with all political parties except Sinn Féin as they pulled out at the last minute. The last show featured Malachi O'Doherty in the "If You Ask Me..." section looking back at the show and events at the time with the usual cartoon drawings of all political figures. The final episode showed all big moments such as interviews with leaders and the first time the UUP and Sinn Féin appeared in a studio together and all the bust ups between Noel Thompson and various political figures. The show ended as always with Tim McGarry's taxi journey and ended with Noel saying thanks for watching and goodbye before a final caption saying "That's All Folks!"
It was replaced by a new politics show in September 2012 The View presented by Mark Carruthers as BBC NI wanted all their politics programmes controlled by the same team therefore the Stormont Today and Sunday Politics teams had a new programme on BBC NI on Thursday nights.
- Hearts and Minds BBC Two, 21 June 2012
- BBC's flagship politics show Hearts and Minds gets axe Belfast Telegraph, 7 June 2012
- BBC’s Noel Thompson axed from TV screens Belfast Telegraph, 12 March 2012
- BBC NI axes more familiar TV faces Belfast Telegraph, 10 May 2012