BBC2 to show a feature-length film on the life of Seamus Heaney later this month 4 years ago

BBC2 to show a feature-length film on the life of Seamus Heaney later this month

The Nobel Prize-winner is one of Ireland's greatest minds. His work at the time of The Troubles was incredible.

The BBC have confirmed that they'll be airing Seamus Heaney: The Music of What Happens on 30 November on BBC2.


The film is a feature-length feature about the life and work of the beloved Nobel Prize-winner.

The title itself is inspired by the sweetest sound of all, as Finn MacCool says in an Irish legend, which is the music of what happens.

Directed by Adam Low and Dermot Lavery, the film will feature interviews with Heaney's wife Marie and his three children. The family will be talking about their family life and they'll also read some of the poems that he wrote for them.

For for the first time ever, his four surviving brothers will be talking about their childhood and the shared experiences that inspired so many of Heaney's finest poems. In terms of its narrative, the new film considers on the full arc of Heaney's life, his relationships with family and fellow writers, and on the poems themselves.


Filming took place in locations as diverse as Bellaghy, Boston, and Dublin. It's also about the first film about Seamus Heaney since Charlie McCarthy’s award-winning Out of the Marvellous.

Patrick Holland, Controller for BBC Two has 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."

After his first collection of poems, Death Of A Naturalist, was published by Faber & Faber in 1966, Heaney was heralded as a major new talent and this culminated in 1995 when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Born into a farming family in Derry, Heaney lived in a community which actively campaigned for civil rights. A large part of his work coincided with, and frequently reflected, the turmoil that was unfolding during The Troubles.


For example, his poems about the preserved Iron Age bodies found in bogs in Denmark and Ireland say as much about the situation in Northern Ireland as it did about the world in which they were executed or sacrificed.

Elsewhere, Mid-Term Break is a poem that nearly every Irish person has learned as part of their Leaving Cert.

Heaney never allowed himself to become a spokesman for the Republican cause, despite pressure to do so as the situation in Northern Ireland became increasingly violent and oppressive.

Identifying as Irish rather than British, Heaney moved to Wicklow in 1972.


Admired and loved far beyond the UK and Ireland, Heaney's work inspired a whole generation of people and artists alike. He was also a professor at Harvard in the 1980s and 90s.

He sadly passed away in 2013 at the age of 74.