Besom Productions - The Hunger Strike

Categories

Other Info

Besom Productions

Top Image

The Hunger Strike



Director: Margo Harkin
Co-Producers: Margo Harkin for Besom Productions Ltd & Joel Conroy for Inis Films
Executive Producer: Lena Ferguson for BBC Northern Ireland
Co-Production: Besom Productions Ltd. & Inis Films
Broadcaster: Broadcast on 28 June 2006 at 10.40pm on BBC Northern Ireland



Billing



A 60 min. doc. for BBCNI on the history and legacy of the hunger strike by Irish Republicans in the Maze prison in 1981.



Synopsis



This BBC ONE Northern Ireland documentary looks back at the republican hunger strike 25 years after the death of Bobby Sands on 5th May 1981.

Of all the volatile periods in Northern Ireland's recent history the Hunger Strikes (1980 and 81) is one of the most impassioned and significant historically. It was a key event in the relationship between the British Government and Irish Republicans, a unifying force for nationalists and a focal point for world opinion. It brought Sinn Fein into electoral politics and is largely responsible for the strong electoral position the party has achieved today. This documentary revisits the dramatic story of how and why Sands and 9 others died a death so extreme it convulsed politics in Northern Ireland and Britain and drew world wide attention to the one of the most extreme protests in prison history.

Hunger striker Laurence McKeown returns to the cells where he survived for 70 days and recalls the physical and psychological effect it had on him. Other key participants include Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, former prisoners, relatives of the hunger strikers who died and those involved in the negotiations.

The programme also hears from Lord Gowrie, a key figure in ending the hunger strike and Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's Press Secretary during the hunger strikes who give an insight into the stance of the British government. Former prison officer Dessie Waterworth also provides a perspective into what things were like for staff inside the prison as events unfolded.

The use of news archive focuses on the pivotal moments and features footage of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the funerals and the people who attempted to broker a deal between the British government and the hunger strikers.

Margo Harkin of Besom Productions who directed the documentary for BBC Northern Ireland said:
"The hunger strike was a momentous event in our recent history. Unravelling the inside story of what went on was totally compelling for the whole production team. The programme will give viewers a fascinating insight into what actually happened through the eyes of the key people who were involved at that time."



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