Quick steps: How to watch Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland in Europe on BBC iPlayer for free using a VPN
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Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland preview
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Get a glimpse into the untold stories of resilience, reconciliation, and the enduring impact of conflict in Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland. Watch the gripping trailer now and prepare to be moved.
Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland Cast
- Billy: A teenager residing in a working-class Catholic area of Londonderry, joins civil rights protests and eventually becomes involved with the IRA.
- Jeanette: She grew up in a working-class Protestant neighborhood of Londonderry, whose fears escalate with the outbreak of violence sparked by civil rights marches.
- James, hailing from a working-class Protestant background, aligns himself with a loyalist paramilitary organization and assumes a position of authority over their weaponry at a young age.
- Ricky, born into a Belfast Republican family, joins the IRA and faces imprisonment for armed robbery before playing a crucial role in the 1981 hunger strike.
- Richard shares memories of rioting and street battles with the British Army from his perspective as a schoolboy in Catholic Derry.
- Fiona, a young child when the British Army arrives in Derry, recalls the terrifying house searches her Republican family endured as soldiers sought hidden IRA weapons.
- Kate is a carefree teenager from a large Catholic family, whose life is shattered when her brother is fatally shot and her father wounded by British Paratroopers.
- Tom, a 19-year-old deployed to Northern Ireland as part of the British Army.
- Dawn, reflects on the devastating consequences of Bloody Friday within her Protestant working-class community.
- Terri, a legendary figure in Belfast, establishes a record shop during the height of the Troubles and becomes a central figure in the punk music scene, defying the conflict by uniting young Catholics and Protestants.
- Greg grew up in a middle-class Protestant suburb of Belfast and emerged as the lead singer of the Outcasts, a Belfast punk band.
- Yvonne is a young Catholic girl immersing herself in the Belfast punk scene at the Harp Bar, where she encounters and falls in love with her future husband, Greg.
- Bronagh, Jean McConville’s granddaughter, recounts the tragic story of her widowed mother of 10, who the IRA kidnapped, murdered, and secretly buried as one of ‘the Disappeared.’
- Michael McConville, Bronagh’s father recalls the distressing memory of the IRA forcibly taking his mother from their family home and enduring a 30-year wait for them to disclose her burial location.
- John, raised on a working-class Protestant loyalist estate, whose discovery of a family secret prompts a reevaluation of his beliefs.
- Bernadette (1), an 18-year-old newlywed in Catholic West Belfast, grappling with her husband Ricky’s arrest and imprisonment for armed robbery.
- Bernadette (2), a 10-year-old informed that her father Joe, an IRA prisoner, will be the next participant in a hunger strike. She travels to the United States and appeals on national television to President Reagan for intervention to save her father’s life.
- June, growing up in a predominantly Protestant village in rural Northern Ireland, marries her teenage sweetheart Johnnie. However, Johnnie’s decision to join the police force (RUC) has devastating consequences.
- Denise, along with her mother and brother, resides in an ‘interface’ area, constantly living in fear of attacks from their Catholic neighbors while guarding a family secret.
- Jean, Denise’s mother, becomes part of the Ulster Defence Regiment within the British Army.
- Billy (2), raised in a Catholic working-class community in South Belfast, whose father is tragically murdered when loyalist gunmen storm into a betting shop.
- Anne Marie witnesses a loyalist attack on an IRA funeral and reluctantly agrees to plant firebombs in Belfast shops for the IRA. When her former partner becomes an informant, she is ultimately sent to jail.
- ‘Brian,’ an ex-Special Branch officer who operated at a high level with informers and agents for several decades. Fearing retribution from paramilitaries, he chooses to be filmed anonymously as he believes his life is still in danger.
- Alan is tragically widowed when a bomb intended for the loyalist paramilitary UDA headquarters upstairs destroys his young wife’s father’s fish shop.
- Patrick, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful comedians, whose comedic talent serves as an outlet for his grief. He tragically lost his father, who was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries a year earlier.
Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland Episode Guide
Episode 1: It Wasn’t Like a Movie Anymore (May 22, 2023)
As tensions between Catholic and Protestant communities escalate, the deployment of the British Army leads to a tragic event known as Bloody Sunday. The shooting of 13 unarmed Catholics by British Paratroopers sends shockwaves around the world and has significant political ramifications, potentially fueling recruitment for the Provisional IRA.
Episode 2: Do Paramilitaries Lay Awake at Night? (May 22, 2023)
In 1972, amidst a deeply segregated society, paramilitary organizations exert control over many Catholic and Protestant working-class communities. Just six months after Bloody Sunday, a series of 19 bombings orchestrated by the IRA rocks Belfast. That resulted in fatalities and numerous injuries. However, amidst the chaos, punk music emerges as a unifying force, bringing together young Catholics and Protestants who defy the divisions surrounding them.
Episode 3: So Many Broken Hearts (May 22, 2023)
This episode delves into the profound impact of the conflict through the stories of three women. Coinciding with the hunger strike initiated by IRA prisoners in protest against Margaret Thatcher’s policies. With tit-for-tat killings, car bombs, and assassinations becoming a grim reality of daily life in Northern Ireland, fatigue begins to set in among a population yearning for respite from the unrelenting violence.
Episode 4: The Dirty War (May 22, 2023)
By the late 1980s, Northern Ireland is plagued by a daily tally of casualties, but 14 harrowing days in March 1988 marked a new level of brutality. The conflict evolves into an intelligence war, with efforts focused on infiltrating paramilitary organizations to prevent further acts of terrorism. Fear and suspicion permeate all aspects of everyday life, and the mantra becomes “trust nobody.”
Episode 5: Who Wants to Live Like That? (May 22, 2023)
In 1994, President Bill Clinton’s controversial invitation to Gerry Adams sparks both hope and horror. For some, it symbolizes international support for peace talks, while others are deeply unsettled. Following an IRA ceasefire announcement, a loyalist paramilitary ceasefire follows six weeks later. The eventual announcement of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brings widespread joy, but the road to peace comes at a significant cost.
What will happen in Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland?
Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland is a documentary series that explores the complex history of Northern Ireland and its turbulent past. It presents intimate and unheard testimonies from various perspectives, shedding light on the experiences of individuals affected by the conflict.
The series delves into the social, political, and cultural dynamics of Northern Ireland. Particularly during the Troubles, a period of intense violence and unrest. It encompasses significant events like Bloody Sunday, where British Paratroopers shot unarmed Catholics, and examines the subsequent impact on the political landscape.
Throughout the episodes, personal stories unfold, showcasing the lives of individuals from different backgrounds and communities. It examines their involvement in civil rights protests, paramilitary organizations like the IRA, and loyalist groups, and the consequences they face due to their choices.
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This new five-part @BBCTwo documentary is powerful viewing, a timely reminder of where this place has been and why we must never go back to 'the bad old days'…#OnceUponATimeInNorthernIreland #Troubles— David Roy (@droyirishnews) May 19, 2023
via @irish_news https://t.co/x6g5e37Eso
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