Thursday 20 June 2019

This Is Me: Viewers moved by Laura Brennan documentary on RTE Player

This Is Me was the most watched single programme on RTE Player last week

Inspiring: Laura Brennan campaigned for young women to avail of the HPV vaccine in the last 18 months of her life. Uptake has risen by 20pc
Inspiring: Laura Brennan campaigned for young women to avail of the HPV vaccine in the last 18 months of her life. Uptake has risen by 20pc
The late Laura Brennan

Áine Kenny

Laura Brennan’s documentary This Is Me was the most watched single programme on RTÉ Player last week.

The 26-year-old, who passed away from cervical cancer in March, came to national prominence when she featured in a HSE ad encouraging parents to get their daughters vaccinated with the HPV vaccine.

The documentary charts Laura’s tireless advocacy work as she endured terminal cervical cancer.

As it was commissioned for RTE Player, the broadcaster won't be measuring viewership until it reaches seven days on the platform.

Champion: Laura Brennan campaigned for HPV vaccine. Picture: Fennells
Champion: Laura Brennan campaigned for HPV vaccine. Picture: Fennells

"Original air time is not a concept for online exclusive content. RTÉ Player audiences can choose to watch programmes whenever and wherever they want on a device of their choice. We generally allow seven days before reviewing a programme's performance," RTE Senior Press Officer Sinead Harrington said. 

The documentary is available on the RTE Player in order to reach younger viewers as Laura’s message was aimed at them. “When Laura and her parents were filming the documentary they knew it was for RTÉ Player," she said.

Laura Brennan, HPV vaccine advocate (HSE/PA)
Laura Brennan, HPV vaccine advocate (HSE/PA)

“RTÉ Player has commissioned a series of online documentaries from the RTÉ Docland team. They cover a wide range of topics and themes that are important to our audience. This documentary is of particular relevance to younger viewers.”

“In recognition of the fact that younger viewers consume content in a digital space, RTÉ Documentaries commissioned the documentary for the RTÉ Player, to attract this sector of the audience,” Sinéad explains.

“Unlike a documentary which has a linear transmission, Laura Brennan: This is Me will exist on the Player for a long time, meaning that it will be available to viewers in the future, ensuring that its powerful message will reach viewers as they reach the stage and age when it is appropriate to them.”

According to Sinéad, the response to the documentary has been overwhelmingly positive. “She really touched so many people and has such an important story to tell.”

Twitter was flooded with positive comments about the programme.

“Absolute hero, such an incredible powerful documentary. What a brave young woman who will be sadly missed but never forgotten for all the awareness she has brought to the HPV vaccine. Thank you Laura,” said one viewer.

“What a powerful documentary. Laura was one of a kind,” said another tweeter.

Another viewer wrote that Laura changed her mind about the vaccine: “I’ve twin girls and had decided not to vaccinate as I was completely confused and clueless as to what the vaccine was. Laura Brennan changed my mind. Her legacy she leaves behind will continue forever more and I am forever thankful for making the right choice.”

Laura, who was from Clare, was diagnosed with cervical cancer aged 24, and spent the rest of her life urging young girls to vaccinate themselves against HPV.

Human Papillomaviruses (HPV) are a leading cause of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine can prevent seven out of 10 cervical cancers.

Laura campaigned for an increased uptake in the HPV vaccine, as it has the power to prevent the needless deaths of countless women.

In recent years uptake in Ireland fell dramatically due to unconfirmed theories about its 'adverse' side effects.  However, thanks in part to Laura advocating for the vaccine, uptake rose to 70% this year, up from 50%.

You can watch the documentary HERE

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