Channel 4 Britain's Most Historic Towns: Victorian Belfast. 12th May 2018

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities


I was an historical adviser and interviewee for this Channel 4 documentary on the Victorian character of Belfast, with a special emphasis on the culture of popular entertainment in this period.


Television producers and presenters, general public


The documentary producer contacted me after reading some of my research on popular entertainment in Victorian Belfast. The programme drew on my research to help recreate a computer generated model of Belfast's Theatre Royal for which I provided further source materials and further knowledge about the period. The programme also interviewed me for the programme in which I spoke about my research into popular entertainment in Belfast and how it both an exemplar and oddly anomalous with popular music hall entertainment in the rest of the UK in this period. The programme drew on my research in its engagement with the content, character and context of music hall entertainment in Belfast.

Period12 May 2018

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleChannel 4 Britain's Most Historic Towns: Victorian Belfast.
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletChannel 4
    Media typeTelevision
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionHidden in streets across the country are the secrets of Britain’s rich and dramatic past. In a brand new series, Professor Alice Roberts studies a key period in British history by telling the story of a single historic town.

    In each of the six episodes, Alice visits historic sites and meets local historians to understand how each town was shaped by the dominant forces of the age.

    Cutting edge CGI allows Alice to bring long lost monuments back to life while aerial archaeologist Ben Robinson takes to the skies to see how the layout of each town reflects a historical era to this day. At the climax of each programme, vivid CGI reveals the entire historic town in all its former glory.

    Episode six features Alice’s explorations of Victorian Belfast with a special feature on Victorian entertainment in this period.
    Producer/AuthorChannel 4
    PersonsMark Phelan


  • music hall
  • Victorian Belfast
  • Theatre Royal
  • Empire Theatre
  • popular entertainment
  • vaudville