A year of Weekends

If a magazine had a birthday, this weekend would be it. On April 24, 2021, the Belfast Telegraph launched its revamped and redesigned Weekend magazine.

lways giving readers up to date news on the goings on in Northern Ireland, top TV picks and exclusive interviews with home-grown and international talent, our mission with a new look Weekend was, well, to make it even better.

Over the last 51 issues, we’ve added to our proposition and — not to put too fine a point on it — we’re rather pleased with how it’s going.

From in-depth features on podcasts — including Tara Mills’ and Declan Harvey’s ’Year 21 look at 1921 — to parkruns — with one of the best cover images I’ve ever worked on — to seasonal food and books, and just about everything in between, we’re so proud to be delivering a product with plenty of reading that looks great (thanks to our talented design team).

Plus, who would have thought we could persuade Eamonn Holmes to be photographed in a cell in Crumlin Road Gaol? That picture made UK headlines — and all because of what we do.

We’ve shot in libraries, outdoors on the coast, in bars and nightclubs, in alleyways… the list goes on. Our talented visuals team, led by Kevin Scott and Colm O’Reilly, have provided the Weekend team with ample amazing shots that showcase not only their ability but the real stories behind the articles.

Our inaugural cover representing the colour and history of Belfast’s murals, and written by our now Deputy Features Editor Gillian, was the best possible way to launch our new look magazine. We’re a little biased, but we think it’s a standard we’ve maintained over the past 12 months.

Little did we know that when we photographed Jude Hill and Lewis McAskey as part of our young talent cover that both would make ripples around the world for their appearances in Kenneth Branagh’s love letter to his home city, Belfast.

In fact, Jude is the only person to have appeared twice on the Weekend cover, the second time thanks to graphic designer Raymond transforming the now iconic film still into a mural.

We do love murals in Weekend HQ.

Of course, the cover can only live up to high standards if it reflects a magazine’s contents and over the last year, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best in the business.

From restaurant reviewer Joris Minne — who every week puts a new ‘must visit’ eaterie on our lists — to food writer John Mulgrew, who offers a look at what’s going on in the food world, we’re never short for an interesting take on a current trend.

It’s been a breeze working with Paula McIntyre — honestly, one of the nicest people we’ve ever dealt with — and she’s even been a cover star (only she and columnist Frank Mitchell have jumped from the inside pages to the front cover).

Speaking of Frank, his columns are genuinely eagerly awaited each week and often give us cause to laugh or think deeply about a subject.

Drinks writer Gary Law is such a thoughtful, considered writer who thinks about what you, our readers, find of interest.

And no Weekend overview is complete without mentioning TV watcher extraordinaire, Billy Weir.

Each week he keeps us entertained with his often acerbic look at what’s on the box.

Happy birthday Weekend magazine. We hope the powers that be give us cake.

Belfast Telegraph