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.Billys Plays on BBC Two NI
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.
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
Aine Gorma (Maureen) and Tracy Lynch (Anne) today
Brid Brennan and Jimmy Ellis returning to the street
Behind the scenes: Graham Reid
Paul Seed, director of The Billy Plays
- Brid Brennan
- Executive Producer
- David Kilpatrick
- Clare Delargy
- Clare Delargy