centuries-old colonial tropes of the ‘simple’ Irish peasant and the ‘complex’ British landowner continue to permeate such perceptions, it cannot be denied that cultural stereotypes of Ireland and Irishness have always included variations on drunken stupidity, mystical spirituality and fervent Catholicism. However, when the global gaze fixed on Ireland in 2015 as it became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote, and again in 2018 with the removal of the country's long-held constitutional ban on abortion, the persistent image of Ireland
This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused. Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends. The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences. Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.
–Stuart succession and the Gunpowder Plot. It is, though, workingclass, usually Irish, Catholicism that is at the heart of his contemporary
world-view in a way that fits into a wider dramatisation of what could
be termed ‘internal colonialism’. In Hillsborough, Dockers and Sunday
(as well as Liam and Priest) in particular, but also in more subtle ways
throughout his work, we see the Irish (in interviews, as we have seen,
he broadens this to ‘Celts’, emphasising the colonial framework), the
Catholics, the northern working class as the collectively marginalised. It
would be a crude
behind and return with Stella to Manhattan or will he always remain in thrall to the village of Wolfshead?
Corman’s productions may be laughable, with special effects that would not have been out of place in the 1950s, but in common with The Daisy Chain (Aisling Walsh, 2008) and Wake Wood (David Keating, 2010), they invoke the Irish Gothic for narrative and aesthetic purposes. Thus, Father Seamus (Eamon Draper) in House of the Damned explains (correctly) that IrishCatholicism had its roots in superstitious practices that facilitate his understanding of
, the boys learn Yeats and the poetry of romantic loss, and when it seems that Franklin will leave, Delaney steps forward and recites Eva Gore-Booth’s ‘Comrades’ (1916), persuading him to stay. Critiquing this ending and the film’s elision of the Spanish Civil War and IrishCatholicism under one undifferentiated regime of terror, Emile Pine ( 2011 : 33) has argued that Mercier’s death ‘is represented as a sacrifice that ensures change and mercy for the other boys’.
If closure is one consequence of adherence to the structure of the melodrama, another quite
Hillsborough, Sunday, Dockers, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot
writer fails to acknowledge
anywhere in his hyperbole-ridden review. More than anything, though,
the tone of the writing serves mainly to confirm one of the things that
drove McGovern to write Hillsborough in the first place, something
which Marcus Free explains in an article that discusses the relationship
between Liverpool writers and Irish identity in Britain:
For McGovern the label ‘Scouser’ signifies birth in Liverpool, but also
a cultural sensibility and sense of difference informed by IrishCatholicism. On the anti-Liverpool prejudice following the 1989