Image for Talking to BillyNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 30 minutes

A programme celebrating the first screening of the 'Billy' plays, 30 years after their first network broadcast.

Filmed in early 1980s Belfast, the dramas were a first for many involved, including Kenneth Branagh and writer Graham Reid. In this documentary, the cast - including James Ellis and Brid Brennan - share their memories of the landmark dramas that will always remain close to their hearts.

Last on

Sun 5 Feb 2012 21:00 BBC Two Northern Ireland only

  • James Ellis returns to the street in Belfast where the plays were filmed

    James Ellis returns to the street in Belfast where the plays were filmed

    To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of Graham Reid's Too Late to Talk to Billy' BBC Northern Ireland are giving audiences another chance to see three of some of the most popular dramas ever produced on these shores. A documentary will also precede the first play which will hear directly from the cast and crew who brought the Martin family to life on our television screens in the 1980s.

    The documentary, Talking to Billy on Sunday February 05, BBC Two NI at 9pm sees actors including Kenneth Branagh, Jimmy Ellis and Brid Brennan reminiscing about the time they spent filming back in the early 1980s. The plays, Too Late to Talk to Billy, A Matter of Choice for Billy and A Coming to Terms for Billy were the first time a national audiences had heard the authentic voice of working class Ulster Protestants from Northern Ireland.

    In the documentary we once again meet the Martin Family who were the beating heart of the Billy Plays. There was bullying father Norman played by Jimmy Ellis; son Billy played by Kenneth Branagh; Brid Brennan the long suffering sister Lorna; and twins Anne and Maureen played by Tracey Lynch and Aine Gorman. Cast in supporting roles were some of the greatest actors of a generation Mark Mulholland, John Hewitt and Colm Convey.

    With the help of writer Graham Reid and cast, BBC NI re-tells the story of Billy and explores what it was that turned this simple tale into one of the most successful dramas ever produced by BBC Northern Ireland. When Too late to talk to Billy was first broadcast nationally in February 1982 it revealed a foreign landscape unknown except to those who lived here. It was a significant television moment for the people of Belfast and a significant moment for young actor Kenneth Branagh fresh out of drama school.

    Billys Plays on BBC Two NI
  • Another chance to see the Billy Plays

    Another chance to see the Billy Plays

    Following the documentary BBC NI is giving audiences another chance to see Too Late To Talk To Billy on Sunday February 5 on BBC Two NI at 9.30pm.

    The Billy Plays on BBC Two NI
  • Writer Graham Reid

    Writer Graham Reid

  • Aine Gorma (Maureen) and Tracy Lynch (Anne) today

    Aine Gorma (Maureen) and Tracy Lynch (Anne) today

  • Brid Brennan and Jimmy Ellis returning to the street

    Brid Brennan and Jimmy Ellis returning to the street

  • Behind the scenes: Graham Reid

    Behind the scenes: Graham Reid

  • Paul Seed, director of The Billy Plays

    Paul Seed, director of The Billy Plays

Credits

Participant
Brid Brennan
Executive Producer
David Kilpatrick
Director
Clare Delargy
Producer
Clare Delargy

Broadcasts

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