Derry’s Bloody Sunday families have called for candles to be lit to mark next Saturday’s 49th anniversary of the 1972 killings.
A series of online events have been organised to mark the anniversary, including a virtual commemorative march which will take place Sunday, January 31.
Thirteen anti-internment protesters were shot dead by British paratroopers in Derry’s Bogside on January 30 1972, with a fourteenth victim, John Johnston dying from his wounds later.
An inquiry headed by Lord Mark Saville exonerated all those killed and wounded and condemned the actions of the British soldiers.
One former paratrooper – known as Soldier F – is expected to be charged with the Bloody Sunday murders of victims, Jim Wray and William McKinney. He is also expected to be charged with the attempted murder of wounding victims, Patrick O’Donnell (deceased), Joe Mahon, Joseph Friel and Michael Quinn.
The families of the dead and wounded have called on people to place a lit candle in their windows at 4.10pm next Saturday, the anniversary of the moment the Parachute Regiment entered the Bogside and started shooting.
Two separate commemorative programmes have been organised, one by the majority of families who opted not to continue the annual Bloody Sunday march and one by smaller group which has continued the march since 2011.
The Bloody Sunday Trust programme, which is supported by the majority of families, starts on Monday and culminates with the annual Bloody Sunday Mass (St Mary’s church, Creggan 7.30pm) and a minute’s silence at 4.10pm on Saturday.
The parallel programme will also feature a series of online discussions throughout the week, culminating in an online march on Sunday, January 31.
Talking Derry Girls, a popular podcast in which three women review episodes of the hit show while reflecting on their own memories growing up in Derry in the same era, quickly garnered an army of fans– and now it’s back for season 2.
Jeanie, Marie-Louise and Pauline reviewed every episode of the first season of Channel 4’s hit sitcom, and now the trio are back with their review of the first episode of season 2– aka the fan-favourite ‘Blackboard scene’ episode.
Season 3 of Derry Girls is still a long way off, with production plans ruined thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but with an official Derry Girls book coming out, and creator Lisa McGee dropping hints about a film, there’s plenty to keep fans of the show going.
In the meantime, you can check out the Talking Derry Girls podcast on Spotify, Apple and Acast.
Derry Girls’ Siobhán McSweeney took time on Friday’s Late Late Show to pay tribute to how her co-stars looked after her following the death of her father, describing them as “just gorgeous”.
Derry Girls‘ Siobhán McSweeney took time on Friday’s Late Late Show to pay tribute to how her co-stars looked after her following the death of her father, describing them as “just gorgeous”.
The Cork actress, who plays Sister Michael on the hit Channel 4 show, told host Ryan Tubridy how the cast and crew of the series threw their arms around her during her father’s illness and when he passed away.
“Awful things happen,” she said. “And I’ve had a litany – as everybody does – in the last while, just a run of things.
“But a really beautiful upside of all these dreadful things is that people are so kind to you.”
“Dad died during the filming of the second series and I’m sure you know, but Derry and Cork couldn’t be further apart,” McSweeney continued. “It’s a long old drive and there are no flights.
“Dad was in the hospice in Cork and I was filming in Derry and Belfast and trying to get between the two. Despite the best, the best, wonderful intentions of the production company, there was a lot of practical stuff you couldn’t really [plan for].”
“After Dad died it was my first time going back to Belfast,” she recounted. “I was going back into the apartment. I was broken-hearted, I was scalded, I was not good at all. You know, you have your little wheelie suitcase and I thought, ‘I don’t even have a bottle of milk for a cup of tea’. You know when you just want a cup of tea and [to] go to bed? I was like, ‘I can’t face it. I can’t face it’. And I just thought, ‘Oh, sure I don’t even have the heating on or anything’.
She needn’t have worried.
“I walked in and the flat… It was like a Disney film. The heating was on; there were those cosy socks, slippers. Basically, the girls – and by the girls I also include Dylan [Llewellyn] who plays James – they’re the girls – got the key to my flat and filled the flat, filled the fridge with wine, tea, milk, microwave meals, fruit, veg. Loads of wine, thank God! They know me well! Loads of teabags; they had the heating on.”
“They’re extraordinary people,” she said. “But it’s indicative of the whole production, really. People worked so hard to make sure I had a lot of time with Dad. They did it gently, not looking for thanks.
“There’s still stuff I don’t know that it’s only seeping through, but I’m very grateful for them. I wish I had something funny or quippy to say about it, but it’s true: they’re just gorgeous.”
McSweeney is currently staying with friends after an electrical fire in her flat in London, which was caused by a double adapter.
“I had one by my bedside, bedside locker,” she explained. “Apparently, they’re dreadful. And if they fall out by more than 1.2mm, which is nothing, it creates an electrical arc, which can spark. And it did. It started smouldering. My bed was next to my bedside locker, obviously, and it started smouldering on my mattress, which released toxic fumes. Thankfully, I was at a dreadful play, so I’m not dead! So bad theatre saves lives!”
McSweeney said there was “an awful lot of damage”.
“I’m still out of the flat. I’m relying on my friends. The flat was destroyed. Because not only was it the fumes from the fire itself, it’s [also] the smoke damage. Everything was ruined, unfortunately.”
She now intends to work with a charity to raise awareness of fire safety.
Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee hints at what is in store in season three
Since it launched in 2018, the sitcom has become one of the most popular shows on Channel 4 – and has captured the hearts of people across the globe.
And following the end of season two earlier this year (and the announcement that yes, season three is on the way), it’s safe to say that fans are eager for more.
Now, the series’ creator Lisa McGee has hinted what is in store when Derry Girls returns for season three.
Speaking to Her at the recent Virgin Media Television new season launch, she teased:
“[There’s] not really [much I can share], except they’ll definitely just be getting into more trouble.
“They haven’t grown up or wised up any, so there will be more shenanigans really.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, Derry Girls is a candid, one-of-a-kind, family-centred comedy.
While series one saw the gang navigating their teens in 1990’s Derry against a backdrop of The Troubles, series two saw them navigating their parents, parties, love interests and school against the backdrop of a precarious peace process.
Following the news of Derry Girls’ season threerenewal earlier this year, Lisa McGee said:
“I love writing this show and I’m so thrilled to be able to continue the Derry Girls story, thank you Channel 4, Erin and the eejits live to fight another day!”
Derry Girls series two launched with a consolidated audience of 3.2m viewers for episode one, which makes it Channel 4’s biggest UK comedy launch episode for 15 years.
In Northern Ireland, the series two launch has been the most watched programme across all channels since series one.