- 04 Apr 19
BBC Two Controller Patrick Holland has officially announced a full-length biopic on esteemed Irish poet Seamus Heaney.
BBC Two has officially announced a forthcoming full-length feature film about Seamus Heaney, focusing on the famous Irish poet's life and work.
Born in Derry to a farming family, Heaney lived in a community centred on activism concerning civil rights. Thus, much of his work reflected the turmoil that encircled the time, specifically The Troubles, though he astutely chose to observe the political upheaval from a distance.
Identifying as Irish rather than British, Heaney moved to Co Wicklow in the Republic in 1972 and became an Irish citizen.
Faber & Faber published Heaney's first collection of poems, titled Death Of A Naturalist, in 1966, which lead to his inclining fame as he was regarded as a major new talent. In 1995, Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and continues to be celebrated as one of the finest poets of his generation today. Heaney died, aged 74, in 2013.
Coming from a Catholic community which campaigned for civil rights, Heaney always identified with those in similar situations, both in the contemporary world - especially the then largely communist Eastern Europe - and in the past. His poems about the strangely preserved Iron Age bodies found in bogs in Denmark and Ireland say as much about the contemporary situation in Northern Ireland as about the world in which they were executed or sacrificed.
Heaney, however, never allowed himself to become a spokesman for the Republican cause, despite pressure to do so as the situation in Northern Ireland became increasingly violent and oppressive. Yet his singular brand of humility and humanity shone a powerful light on the atrocities that were taking place on both sides, and he advocated a moral line that needed to be respected at all costs.
Admired and revered far beyond UK and Ireland, Heaney spoke to a whole generation of younger poets in America, many of whom he taught as a visiting professor at Harvard in the 1980s and 90s. He strode the international stage, with commentaries on Dante and Virgil, as well as a complete new translation of his beloved Beowulf, but his deepest debt was to his family, and to the landscape in which he grew up.
Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “Seamus Heaney is a cultural colossus who created some of the most powerful, beautiful and resonant poetry of the last 50 years. This film promises exceptional intimacy and poignancy; I am so delighted the family has agreed to share their memories of him for the BBC Two audience.”
Mark Bell, Commissioning Editor, BBC Arts, says: “We are so pleased to have been able to bring the DoubleBand team together with Adam Low and Lone Star to make a rich and tender appraisal of this great writer using the memories of his family and those closest to him.”