Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The One Show: Brian Faulkner, Islandmore and The Blue Cabin

Tomorrow, The One Show are running a piece about The Blue Cabin and Islandmore as part of a series of island pieces presented by Ben Fogle.

I suppose it's impossible to know what to expect from these films, but content aside, the day's filming was great fun. The crew were a delight to work with and Ben Fogle, it probably won't surprise you to hear, is just as nice a guy as he seems. I don't know what the magic formula is, but it appears that men want to be like him and women want to have his children. Dermot O'Leary said the other day (on The One Show in fact), 'Wouldn't you love to be Ben Fogle!'; and when I told a friend today that the film was to air, he said, 'That guy Fogle has a great time of it, doesn't he!' If you look at the Adventures page on Fogle's website, you can see what they mean - what a way to make a living. Ah well, we can dream (not to say it's not hard work Ben, you understand..)

I would love to say that the film is about island life, Strangford Lough, a West Highland terrier called Eddie, island books by Michael Faulkner and paintings by Lynn McGregor; but (and I'm not complaining), these things will probably comprise a relatively small part of a historically more interesting story.

In the course of a full day we filmed on the foreshore, in the cabin, in the boat and even (this was a first) in Lynn's studio. Obviously, we covered a lot of ground in that time, but the director, Matt Cottingham, did make it clear that the main thread would be my father's time on the island in the early 1970s, so the spectre of the troubles will inevitably hang over the finished piece to a greater or lesser extent.

My father, Brian Faulkner, was the last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1971/2, and presided over some of the darkest moments in the history of the Province; so of course there came great responsibility, and enormous pressures. Some of the decisions he had to make, you wouldn't wish on anyone, and naturally we touched on them during the course of the day. But if, against this background, my father comes out of the film not just as a politician but as the decent, fair-minded family man that he was, I'll be quite happy.

I'm sure I'll have more to say after seing the piece tomorrow, particularly on the subject of my father's political legacy, which perhaps has more to do with 1973/4 than 1971.

Meantime, it's The One Show, Thursday at 7pm on BBC 1.
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