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Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland screened to schools in Belfast


Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland screened to schools in Belfast

The BBC and the Northern Ireland Education Authority today hosted a special screening of the multi-award-winning documentary, Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland.

Screened at the Queen’s Film Theatre Belfast, 180 teenagers from ten schools were invited to attend the event, alongside teachers and school leaders. The event was hosted as part of an Education Authority pilot to explore how the acclaimed documentary series might be used as a resource in schools, to help the next generation to better understand Northern Ireland’s past.

Eddie Doyle, Head of Content Commissioning, BBC Northern Ireland:

“Thanks to the Education Authority for progressing this pilot for young people in Northern Ireland. It’s great that the stories which make up Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland may now be used as a tool for young people to better understand and connect with the place they live. None of this would be possible without the brave contributions from all of the those featured in the series.”

Following an initial viewing for educationalists in October 2023, ten schools volunteered to take part in a new pilot to help co-construct a professional development module which will aid schools in the delivery of sensitive topics in class. The screening is part of this process, inviting young people to share their views of the series and how it could support classroom practice. The aim is for the final module to be rolled out to other schools in the next academic year.

The film was introduced by BBC Head of Documentaries, Clare Sillery, and school improvement professional at the Education Authority, Jayne Simms. It was followed by a panel discussion.

Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland first aired on BBC Two, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer in May 2023, to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement. It gives voice to people who lived through the Troubles, sharing previously unheard testimonies from all sides of the complex conflict. It combines unfiltered personal accounts with archive footage to tell the story of the people and communities who had to live with violence daily – and are still dealing with its legacies today.

The documentary received a slew of five star reviews and, one year on, it’s many accolades include a Broadcast Award for Best Documentary Series, two Grierson Awards, two RTS Awards and a Radio Times Reith Award. The documentary has also received four nominations for the 2024 BAFTA Television Awards, including for Best Documentary Series. It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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