The next episode of BBC's documentary on The Troubles delves into secret talks and the bloodiest period 1 year ago

The next episode of BBC's documentary on The Troubles delves into secret talks and the bloodiest period

Part two airs next week. Don't miss it.

While the first episode of Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History covered an awful lot of horrific and familiar ground for people with an understanding of Irish history, the opening episode still provided a stark reminder of the violent and upsetting history that is still all too recent.


The first episode alleged that Ian Paisley financed a UVF bombing campaign in 1969 - Paisley always denied any involvement with the UVF - and showed footage of Martin McGuinness being in the vicinity of the preparation of a car bomb in Derry.

They're just two of the more memorable scenes in an episode that was pretty balanced and informative overall.

Granted, there's still plenty of ground that wasn't covered in the first episode - the question marks surrounding the conduct of British troops stationed abroad prior to their deployment in Northern Ireland and the role the government in the Republic of Ireland played in the proceedings weren't given an awful lot of time - but here's hoping the next six episodes can delve into the complexities with more details.

Heartbreaking and moving, the first episode was a reminder of an essential fact: nobody on the island of Ireland wants a return to that level of violence ever again.

Aside from the aforementioned points, the episode also provided a frustrating insight into how Terence O'Neill's attempted rapprochement with the Catholic community was rejected and more heartbreaking examples of the failed policies of the British government to police Northern Ireland.

No matter how many times these stories of heartbreak and loss are told, every interview with people who lost loved ones still feels incredibly powerful and poignant, especially given the current socio-political climate of Brexit.

The footage of John Hume's peaceful diplomacy and the Civil Rights movement - with both Catholic and Protestant supporters - on the other hand, was of a far more positive nature.


The second episode in the series will document the bloodiest period in the conflict, 1972.

The official synopsis states: "Reporter Darragh MacIntyre finds the IRA anticipating that 1972 would be their 'year of victory’, only to be countered by a massive British military response in the midst of what became the bloodiest period of the conflict.

"The programme features previously unseen footage and new discoveries around the secret talks between the government and the IRA about British withdrawal, including interviews with the people who were there. Were the talks a serious offer or an attempt to weaken the IRA by dragging them into protracted negotiations?

"One insider’s secret diary provides a fresh insight into a missed opportunity for peace. Then, as sectarian fighting with Protestant loyalists began to increase, a coup inside the IRA sets the stage for what they called ‘the Long War’."

The second episode of Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History airs on BBC Four and BBC Northern Ireland at 9pm on Tuesday, 17 September.