Monday 26 September 2016

'I'm not the prude police but it's just not suitable for my students' - Teacher objects to sex scenes and bad language on RTE's new drama 'Rebellion'

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 14/01/2016 | 15:07

Rebellion cast: Sarah Greene as May, Brian Gleeson as Jimmy, Charlie Murphy as Elizabeth, Barry Ward as Arthur and Ruth Bradley as Frances
Rebellion cast: Sarah Greene as May, Brian Gleeson as Jimmy, Charlie Murphy as Elizabeth, Barry Ward as Arthur and Ruth Bradley as Frances
Sarah Greene in her role in the RTÉ drama Rebellion.
Ruth Bradley as Frances O'Flaherty in Rebellion

A teacher has said that the bad language and sexual scenes in RTE's new drama 'Rebellion' classes it as unsuitable for use in schools.

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Jean Grainger, a second level history teacher, told RTE's Liveline today how she had been anticipating the TV show because she believed the TV programme would be an ideal way to help her students' have a greater understanding of the events of 1916.

"In my innocence I told my first year history class that it was coming up and then when it aired I was really surprised at the profanities and nudity used.

"It is a wonderful show, it's highly entertaining, but there's a small percentage of adult or mature content that makes it unusable as a classroom resource," she told RTE Radio One's Liveline.

The five-part drama, written by Colin Teevan, focuses on the lives of ordinary people of 1916 and how they each were affected by the Easter rebellion.

Read More: Rebellion star Brian Gleeson says 1916 Rising scenes were 'harrowing' to film

Rebellion stars Love/Hate actors Charlie Murphy, Brian Gleeson and Ruth Bradley, and Cork actress Sarah Greene.

Last Sunday's episode saw Sarah Greene's character in bed in the arms of her married English lover, who works in Dublin Castle. Ms Grainger felt that the scene was too racy for young students because it contained partial nudity.

"I'm not the prude police but it's just not suitable for my students," Jean said.

Host Philip Boucher-Hayes opined that the scene's meaning was clear.

"Even though you only saw her back there was absolutely no doubt what they were doing, they were having sex and the bed springs were being sorely tested," he said.

Jean explained that teachers must err on the side of caution when recommending educational materials, and said that she felt the scenes in question would have been just as effective without the use of bad profanities and nudity.

Read More: Rebellion star Paul Reid stopped by airport security after bullet from RTE set found in his bag

"They have talented writers who can portray what they need to without resorting to things like this.

"I'm speaking as a teacher, if the bad language and the nudity had been excluded it would have meant we can use the programme in school to educate the children about 1916.

"It means that I can't advise my students to go and watch the next episode as I've no idea what's coming up," Jean said.

Ms Grainger said that although she enjoys the programme as an adult, her responsibilities as a teacher preclude her from showing it in the classroom.

"Parents trust us to present appropriate material to their children in schools," she said.

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