In the run up to St. Patrick’s Day, BBC Four will air a number of special programmes on the subject of Irish landscape and music.
In Great Irish Journeys With Martha Kearney, the broadcaster and journalist retraces the footsteps of George Victor Du Noyer, a 19th century artist and geologist who spent his life charting the landscape, people and buildings of Ireland.
And on Friday 13th March, BBC Four will celebrate a night of Irish music with four programmes representing the best music from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, including a film on world class flautist Sir James Galway; a documentary charting the tale of Irish Rock from Belfast and Dublin; a Julien Temple film on Cavan four-piece, The Strypes; and a compilation of the finest rock offerings recorded at the BBC.
“I’m thrilled to be celebrating the rich history and landscape and extraordinary musical heritage of Ireland with this fantastic line up of programmes.” – Controller, BBC Four, Cassian Harrison
Great Irish Journeys With Martha Kearney – Martha Kearney retraces the journey of George Victor Du Noyer, whose 35 year odyssey left a unique record of how Ireland looked during a period of great change. In constructed walks to the four corners of Ireland the series unlocks the country’s exquisite landscapes. Exploring the Ireland that Du Noyer saw and drew, Martha discovers the story of Ireland’s hidden landscapes at a crucial moment in the country’s history. Each episode will also reveal the intrinsic relationship between the people and the land (something that Du Noyer was the first to document) and will chart changes that face the modern country today.
Episode one takes viewers to the mountains, bogland and coast. In episode two, Martha explores the north and sees how the landscape has had a profound bearing on its history. In the third programme she visits places of power in Ireland, from ancient times through to the end of the Victorian period. And in the fourth programme, she looks at how remote landscapes provided opportunities for Ireland’s spiritual side to blossom.
Being James Galway: An Intimate Portrait Of Sir James Galway – Regarded by many as the finest flautist of his generation, the programme charts Galway’s remarkable rise to the top of the classical music world from his humble beginnings in a Belfast flute band, and provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Galway at home and on tour.
In the programme he speaks frankly about his life and career, putting his success down to hard work and daily practice. The documentary captures Galway backstage, in rehearsal and performing, and at his home overlooking Lake Lucerne, Switzerland with his wife and fellow flautist, Jeanne. The programme is narrated by Jeremy Irons and contributors include broadcaster, Melvyn Bragg, Riverdance composer Bill Whelan and the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin.
The Making Of Irish Rock – A Tale Of Two Cities – The 40 year-old story of Irish rock and pop music is grounded in the very different musical traditions of the two main cities of the island, Belfast and Dublin. This 60-minute musical celebration will chart the lives and careers of the 10 biggest selling acts in Irish rock, pop and folk, including Van Morrison, The Chieftains, Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy, The Boomtown Rats, The Undertones, U2 and Sinead O’Connor who have all forged international reputations.
From the showbands touring in the late 50s through to the modern day, the hour-long film examines their lineage and connections and how the hard-core, rocking sound of Belfast merged with the more melodic, folky Dublin tradition to form what we now recognise as Irish Rock and Pop.
The Strypes – A Julien Temple film about the young Irish Band from Co Cavan, The Strypes are bringing blistering R&B and Rock ’n’ Roll to a whole new generation. A deeply human story of four young childhood friends, with a profoundly shared passion and goal, together taking on the world. The ultimate real life coming of age movie as the Strypes become adults in the world of 21st century rock ’n’ roll success. The film is produced by Parallel Films and Elton John’s Rocket Pictures
Irish Rock at the BBC – An hour filled with some of the finest Irish rock offerings, from the early 70s to present day. Kicking off with Thin Lizzy’s debut hit Whiskey In The Jar, from there we trace Irish Rock’s lineage with performances from Stiff Little Fingers, U2 and Sinead O’Connor to Ash, Hozier, plus many more.