Gripping new documentary on The Troubles looks set to be one of the best shows of 2019 5 months ago

Gripping new documentary on The Troubles looks set to be one of the best shows of 2019

It starts this week and looks incredible. Don't miss it.

With Anglo-Irish relations currently at an extremely interesting point given the environment of Brexit, it's arguable that BBC's new documentary Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History couldn't have arrived at a more poignant and necessary time.

Simply put, there isn't a single person on the island of Ireland that wants to see a return to that level of violence, destruction, and death.

50 years after troops were sent onto the streets of Northern Ireland, a team of investigative journalists aim to shine some new light on the history of the conflict and in terms of what they've discovered, it's extremely interesting.

A per the official synopsis, the filmmakers will disclose "secrets about the decades-long conflict that claimed more than 3,700 lives."

The documentary consists of seven episodes, starting with reporter Darragh MacIntyre as he discovers an array of new evidence, including previously classified documents, unseen film and fresh testimony from key witnesses to the origins of The Troubles.

Episode one will document the formation of the Provisional IRA while also charting the earlier days of two of Northern Ireland's most important men; Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

As the documentary unfolds, viewers will see rare footage of Martin McGuinness which allegedly links him to the preparation of a car bomb for an IRA attack on Derry’s Guildhall in 1972.

During that particular sequence, a former IRA member named Shane Paul O'Doherty said McGuinness was present when a car bomb was being assembled.

Later that day, while no fatalities occurred, the bomb exploded and caused extensive damage.

Another sequence from McGuinness' younger days shows him being filmed as he shows young boys a handgun and rifle.

In 1973, McGuinness was convicted of IRA membership by the Special Criminal Court in Dublin. He refused to acknowledge the court and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

As for Ian Paisley, one scene features a former senior Army officer as he tells the programme that Paisley allegedly "financed" a bombing by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in Down in 1969.

The same loyalist paramilitary gang who carried out the attack in Down attempted to blow up an ESB sub-station in Ballyshannon, Donegal, in October 1969 and one of the bombers, Thomas McDowell, was electrocuted.

Paisley, who died in September 2014, always denied allegations linking him to Loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Both men would ultimately lead Sinn Féin and the DUP into the power-sharing agreement at Stormont.

The documentary starts as the filmmakers unravel the cross-community suspicion which led to unrest between unionists and nationalists.

The opening episode will also highlight the arrival of the British Army into Northern Ireland in August 1969 and the fatal errors and acts of violence they committed.

Martin McGuinness’ role at that time is also detailed and the episode concludes with the destruction of the Northern Ireland government.

The first episode of Spotlight On The Troubles: A Secret History will be broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Four on Tuesday, 10 September at 8.30pm.

We've a feeling that this series is going to get an awful lot of attention and viewers.