- 15 Mar 18
The production includes archive footage and previously unheard testimonies surrounding events at two separate funerals in Belfast, 1988.
The conflict in Northern Ireland has been examined and re-told in a great many ways. But acclaimed and accomplished filmmaker Vanessa Engles, who has been creating documentaries for the BBC since 1988, now sets out to describe the violent events that occurred in Belfast city surrounding two different funerals that took place only three days apart.
For background into the focus of the documentary, one needs to look into the 'funeral murders' themselves.
It began with the SAS murders of three IRA members on a mission in Gibraltar on the 6th of March. A vehicle owned by one of the men, loaded up with bombs intending for attacking the Royal Anglecian Regiment was later discovered in the area. As a result, a loyalist named Michael Stone launched his own assault at the triple funeral that took place ten days later, killing three people including an IRA member called Kevin Brady and injured sixty others.
Three days later, the funeral of Brady subsequently held much tension, anger and upset amongst IRA supporters - and these strong feelings led to the beating and killing of three British army corporals Derek Wood and David Howes. Upon driving to the funeral cortege, they were mistaken to be SAS members planning to launching another attack against the IRA and the crowd acted violently in their grief.
When speaking about the hour-long production that seeks to explore such a dark and violent period in Northern Ireland's history, Engle stated that “The film is in its own terms a document of historic importance, given that the conflict in Northern Ireland witnessed some of the most cataclysmic events to have taken place in the UK since the Second World War. But beyond its value as a document of historical record, it also has contemporary resonance, thirty years on from the funerals in showing how enduring conflict arises when groups of people have politically polarised views.”
Featuring archived footage and audio that will be heard for the first time in over thirty years, the show is set to air at 9:00pm, the 19th of March on BBC Two.