Seamus Heaney biopic on BBC2 will feature family's memories

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A feature-length biopic detailing the life and works of the Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney will be shown on BBC2 on Saturday 30 November. The film, 'Seamus Heaney: The Music of What Happens', directed by Adam Low, will feature Heaney's wife and children as they reflect on his life and read some of the many poems he wrote for them. Heaney died, aged 74, in 2013. Six years after his death his wife Marie, and his three children Michael, Christopher and Catherine, will talk about their family life and read some of the poems he wrote for them, and for the first time his four surviving brothers, Hugh, Charlie, Colum and Dan remember their childhood and the shared experiences that inspired many of his finest poems.

Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995. Born into a Catholic farming family in rural Northern Ireland, the ninth son of a cattle dealer, his career coincided with the Northern Ireland Troubles, which he chose to write about from a distance.

Coming from a Catholic community that campaigned for civil rights, Heaney always identified with those in similar situations, both in the contemporary world - especially the then largely communist eastern Europe - and in the past. His poems about the preserved Iron Age bodies found in bogs in Denmark and Ireland say as much about the contemporary situation in Northern Ireland as about the world in which they were executed or sacrificed.

Heaney moved to Co Wicklow in the Republic in 1972 and became an Irish citizen. He taught as a visiting professor at Harvard in the 1980s and 90s, and produced commentaries on Dante and Virgil, as well as a new translation of Beowulf.

Patrick Holland, controller of BBC2, said: “Seamus Heaney is a cultural colossus who created some of the most powerful, beautiful and resonant poetry of the last 50 years. This film promises exceptional intimacy and poignancy; I am so delighted the family has agreed to share their memories of him for the BBC2 audience.”

The film will be screened on Saturday 30 November at 9.45pm.

 

PHOTOGRAPH: BBC2 

 

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