BBC One’s insightful documentary series Our Lives returns next week, with brand-new stories of ordinary people from across the UK living in complex and extraordinary ways. The first episode of series seven opens with My Husband the MMA Fighter, showcasing the mental health struggles of Stevie “Braveheart” Ray.
Preparing to fight to become the first Scottish MMA World Champion, Stevie and his wife Natalie reveal the realities of their married life – dealing with crushing defeats and soaring wins, financial instability, brutal injuries, as well as Stevie’s battle with depression. But, never backing down from a fight, Stevie is still inspired to dream big and overcome any obstacle for his family.
This series also showcases the story of Natasha Lambert and her family from the Isle of Wight. Born with cerebral palsy, Natasha’s parents were told she would never be able to walk, talk or feed herself.
But after her engineer father invented technology which allows her to control a yacht with her own breath, Natasha and her family embark on their biggest challenge yet – sailing across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean. Natasha always had a passion for sailing, and now is more determined than ever to make her dream a reality.
Other inspiring stories in this 12x30 series include that of Sussex free-diver Eric Smith, who takes us underwater to discover if efforts to restore marine wildlife have paid off; Josh Quigley, a suicide survivor from Livingston, who is battling for a chance to compete in the Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, with only 6 months to train; and the reopening of Wales’s highest café at the top of Yr Wyddfa, also known as Snowdon, as the local residents attempt to find the right balance between supporting the massive influx of tourism post-pandemic and their community.
This series will also feature former prisoner turned art teacher Stephen Greer using art as a force for good inside Northern Ireland’s prisons to aid with rehabilitation. The Yarnbombers, a group of women from Swansea, will decorate Mumbles Pier with their ingenious knitted creations to celebrate the King’s Coronation.
And, in The Dog That’s Saving My Life, Mei Zhang and her 18-month-old golden retriever, Koda, showcase the impact Assistance Dogs can have on improving a person’s mental health.
In Belfast, bus-driver-turned-lottery-winner Peter Lavery seeks to open the first whiskey distillery in his hometown for ninety years, as well as invest back into his local community. Northern Irish elite gymnast Rhys McClenaghan is looking to bring home the gold, as he prepares for three major competitions that could make or break his career. On Flat Holm Island, isolated in the Bristol Channel, new warden Simon Parker will ensure the new chicks of the indigenous seagull colony are safe and healthy.
And Isla Mackenzie, a young engineer from the Western Isles, who works for one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams is preparing to make her very own racing debut.
BBC Director of Nations Rhodri Talfan Davies says: “Our Lives is a celebration of remarkable people across the UK – their dreams, aspirations, and their determination to make things happen. Our Lives presents a story of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that is vibrant, passionate and diverse.”
Our Lives is part of the BBC’s Across the UK strategy, bringing us closer to our audiences to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the UK. By 2027/28 the BBC will be spending at the very least, an extra £700m cumulatively across the UK - generating an additional economic benefit of over £850 million. This will not only dramatically increase opportunities for jobs and training but improve representation on and off screen.
Series 7 of Our Lives will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Friday 2 June at 7:30 pm.