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Grey FM



Director: Aaron Black
Executive Producer: Alison Millar for Erica Starling Productions
Producer: Margo Harkin
Co Production: Erica Starling Productions and Besom Productions Ltd.
Broadcaster: Broadcast on 31 January at 10.35pm on BBC Northern Ireland



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Pensioners Jimmy Keenan and Séan and Colette McCaffrey are the backbone of `Afternoon Delight' an upbeat radio programme broadcast from the Conway Mill in Belfast hosted entirely by pensioners. The show is both a valuable social hub and a campaign centre against government neglect of the problems afflicting the elderly.

Séan and Colette should be enjoying their retirement but instead they have become carers of an elderly parent with Alzheimer's disease as well as looking after a young grandchild. Jimmy, who lives on his own after the death of his lifetime partner, provides a gentle and often humorous insight into loneliness and the everlasting desire for romantic love.



Synopsis



It's the focal point for a bunch of energetic pensioners who are on air, on the ball and on the same wave length. This group of senior citizens is behind the only radio show in Northern Ireland that is made by pensioners, for pensioners and they come together once a week to broadcast live to listeners.

This BBC One Northern Ireland documentary follows members of the 'Afternoon Delight' team that includes 87-year old singing sensation Jimmy Keenan and 69-year old Sean McCaffrey and his wife Colette who juggle their radio duties with a hectic home life. In Grey FM, on Monday, January 31 at 10.35pm, viewers get an insight into the lives and into the homes of some of those involved. Jimmy has lived alone since his wife of 66 years died 15 years ago. But age doesn't hold up Jimmy and his love of singing and life means that he's on the go and as active as ever.

Even though Sean's retired, life hasn't slowed down – so much so that he and Colette have had to build their own private 'retreat' in their garden to get some peace and quiet. The couple look after their grandson and Colette's mother also lives with them.

The pensioners are also active campaigners for the rights of their generation. The documentary, made by Besom Productions and Erica Starling Productions for BBC Northern Ireland, follows them as they launch their pensioners' manifesto outside Belfast City Hall in the run up to last year's election. Fuel grants, pensioner poverty, care and ageism are just some of the issues the pensioners campaign for.

Producing and presenting the radio show also takes a lot of work. Each week the pensioners discuss the burning issues that are at the heart of their communities and the topics that matter to their generation.

Aaron Black who filmed and directed the programme said:
"As a society we're probably getting more used to hearing from an older generation, who didn't always have a voice in the past, campaigning for the issues that affect them. Grey FM lets viewers meet some of those involved in the radio programme that is made for and aimed at senior citizens. However, we also wanted to show viewers that this group of pensioners, far from letting their lives drift by is as active and important to their families and community as they ever have been. By telling the stories of what happens outside of the studio and in their houses we were able to give an intimate insight into love, loss and responsibility. I'm sure a lot of viewers will be able to identify with them and with what happens in their lives."



Domestic viewing copies available on DVD for £17 (inclusive of VAT) plus postage and packing. For Institutional rates and/or other teaching purposes, please contact Margo at margo@besomproductions.co.uk