Wednesday 12 Mar 2014
BBC Northern Ireland has won a prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS) Programme Award for the documentary Breaking The Silence.
Breaking The Silence, an intimate documentary looking at the issue of suicide, won in the Nations and Regions Programme category at the award ceremony, which was hosted by Dara O'Briain at London's Grosvenor House last night (Tuesday 15 March).
Produced by Tern Television for BBC Northern Ireland, Breaking The Silence heard the heartbreaking testimonies of parents who have lost their daughters to suicide and a wife who has lost her husband.
In this moving programme, these families shared their deeply personal stories in the hope that that the stigma and taboo around suicide could be broken and that, ultimately, more deaths by suicide could be prevented.
The families, each from rural communities in Co Armagh or Co Tyrone, bravely told of their time with their loved ones in the hours before they died, the horror and devastation they experienced when they discovered what had happened, and how they each continue in their struggle to come to terms with losing a loved one to suicide.
Director and producer Brendan Byrne from Tern TV says: "I'm incredibly honoured to have been presented with this award for a programme which dealt with a difficult and taboo subject.
"We didn't attempt to find answers to impossible questions with this programme; we simply wanted to bear witness to the powerful testimony of mothers, wives and fathers as they told of the traumatic aftermath of suicide.
"I'd like to thank the families who had such strength and bravery to share their deeply personal and harrowing stories with us. Without them there would be no film."
Deirdre Devlin, Executive Producer of the documentary, says: "Breaking The Silence was a deeply moving and important documentary showing how suicide can affect anyone.
"We're incredibly grateful to the Royal Television Society for recognising the programme in this way and I would like to extend that gratitude to the contributors to this documentary who demonstrated great courage, conviction and kindness in sharing their painful stories with us."
Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland, said: "We are extremely proud of this achievement for what was a very powerful film exploring some very delicate issues.
"Brendan Byrne demonstrated his expert skills as a filmmaker by bringing these upsetting personal testimonies to a wider audience in a sensitive and honest manner and he is wholly deserving of this award."
Breaking The Silence was broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday 12 April 2010.