Friday 22 November 2019

Pick of the week: Troubles: the life after

Tonight, BBC2, 9.30pm

True North: The Life After looks back at the Troubles from a different vantage point
True North: The Life After looks back at the Troubles from a different vantage point
Brendan Grace
Simon Reeve explores Malta and Italy
Finding Joy
Paul Whitington

Paul Whitington

While politicians like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg might see the northern Irish border as a trifling impediment to their Brexit masterplans, those with a longer and clearer view of recent Irish history realise how deadly serious the border issue is.

During the brutal conflict that raged over its existence between the late 1960s and 1998, more than 3,500 people died, some of them soldiers and RUC men, others terrorists, but many just innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of a war they could neither stop nor fully understand. Their stories have often been forgotten, but this documentary talks to the families of some of those victims.

The Life After provides an intimate and poetic account of the war's effect on ordinary people who even now, many years after the loss of loved ones and family members, remain profoundly troubled by their experiences. Virtue Dixon's daughter Ruth was celebrating her 24th birthday at the Droppin' Well pub on December 6, 1982 when an INLA bomb brought the roof down, killing her, five other civilians and 11 British soldiers.

Virtue tells the story of how her life was changed forever after her daughter's death, which she explains partly in interview but also through verses specially written by poet Nick Laird. All the people interviewed have their own poem, and Laird has also written a broader poetic narrative of the Troubles, here narrated by Bronagh Gallagher, in which issues like collusion are discussed. And while the peace process might be holding, a lot of historical grievances in the North have never really been addressed.

3 to watch

The Mediterranean with Simon Reeve

Simon Reeve explores Malta and Italy

Sunday, BBC2, 8pm

A civilised sea

The Mediterranean is living through turbulent times, and Simon Reeve explores organised crime in Malta and Italy on the first leg of his tour.

Brendan Grace, Funny Man

Brendan Grace

Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

50 years of laughs

Colleagues and friends reflect on the career of legendary stand-up Brendan Grace, whose inspired routines based on his Dublin childhood made him a star across the world.

Finding Joy

Finding Joy

Wednesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm


Comedy starring Amy Huberman as Joy, a woman who seeks advice from her dog after a painful relationship break-up, and winds up becoming a reluctant social media star

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