Thursday 14 November 2019

Weatherman Deric Hartigan's slum stint gives him taste for filmmaking

Deric with Bumba who has Cystic Fibrosis Who was Dumped on the Streets to di
Deric with Bumba who has Cystic Fibrosis Who was Dumped on the Streets to di

Sharon McGowan

Deric Hartigan has revealed he has his sights set on trading the green screen for more documentary making, as his first investigative programme airs tonight.

The 3e weather presenter travelled to the Indian city of Kolkata to film the lives of locals in the notoriously poor and over-populated city for his documentary 'The Real Slum Dogs - Journey of Hope'.

Deric
Deric

After travelling to India and witnessing first hand the poverty-stricken lives of the residents, along with the aid efforts of Irish charity Hope, Deric admitted that the trip had changed his life.

"I absolutely loved the experience," he told the Herald.

"It's definitely changed me as a person. It makes you think about life a lot more and it makes you question your own values and possibly even beliefs regarding our role in society and how humanity treats people."

With shocking scenes showing child labourers working in the city's main dump at Howrah and the generational prostitution on Kolkata's main highways, Deric admitted the filming the show was "tough".

Deric Hartigan pictured at the opening of the musical Dirty Dancing
Deric Hartigan pictured at the opening of the musical Dirty Dancing

Joined on the show by Rose of Tralee Maria Walsh, who was working in Kolkata with Hope at the time, the TV star admitted that some of what they encountered was hard to stomach.

"I went out to the Howrah dump with Maria," he explained. "You had these 300 ft high mounds of rubbish, with very few men working there - it was mainly women and children who were as young as four, standing underneath rubbish trucks waiting to kick the rubbish in.

"It was horrendous. There was dead animals, syringes from the hospitals and body parts like amputated limbs, literally contaminated rubbish everywhere.

"Even the smell of it was so intense, you could nearly taste it in your mouth it was so strong."

However, Deric assures the shocking scenes haven't stopped him from catching the documentary bug.

"I'm looking into other projects and possibly going out to film in Jordan, Syria or maybe Rwanda," he said. "It's something I really want to get into."

The Real Slum Dogs - Journey Of Hope airs tonight at 9pm on 3e.

Herald

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