Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History

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[edit] General Information

Sociopolitical Documentary hosted by Darragh MacIntyre and Jennifer O'Leary and Mandy McAuley, published by BBC in 2019 - English narration

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Image: Spotlight-on-the-Troubles-A-Secret-History-Cover.jpg

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Fifty years after troops were sent onto the streets of Northern Ireland, a leading team of investigative journalists uncover secrets about the decades-long conflict that claimed more than 3700 lives.

[edit] Part 1:

Darragh MacIntyre opens the series, discovering an array of new evidence, including previously classified documents, unseen film and fresh testimony from key new witnesses to the origins of the Troubles. It throws light on the formation of the Provisional Irish Republican Army as well as the parts played by radicals who became elder statesmen like Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness. The Spotlight team traces how, in the 1960s, suspicion led to unrest between unionists and nationalists, undermining Northern Ireland's government. The arrival of the British Army in August 1969 brought a respite, and the soldiers were enthusiastically greeted as protectors by many nationalists. That relationship was soured by fatal errors and calculated acts of violence. New information about Martin McGuinness's role at that time is brought to light, and the episode concludes with the destruction of the Northern Ireland government, a moment when IRA members believed they were about to force the British Army out of Northern Ireland.

[edit] Part 2:

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 a ruse 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'.

[edit] Part 3:

When Margaret Thatcher entered Downing Street in 1979, she was confronted by an IRA prepared to conduct a long war of attrition against Britain. Jennifer O'Leary discovers arms connections in America and Libya and speaks directly to individuals involved in smuggling weapons for the IRA. She also hears an astonishing admission about the Brighton bomb, which almost killed Mrs Thatcher, and other attacks in Britain. Out of the IRA hunger strikes, Irish republicans also developed the parallel political strategy that saw their leader, Gerry Adams, elected to parliament. Success at the ballot box began to build tension inside the IRA between those who wanted to build their political path and those who primarily adhered to their long war.

[edit] Part 4:

New revelations about how agents of British intelligence infiltrated the Irish Republican Army. By 1979, the British security forces believed the IRA had become so security conscious that they were impossible to penetrate. But reporter Jennifer O'Leary reveals how one weakness in the IRA's internal security was exploited to unlock many of the group's secrets. She charts how Britain used informers and combined that advantage in secret intelligence with the use of special forces to take on one of the IRA's deadliest units – a strategy that culminated with the Loughgall ambush, when the SAS killed eight IRA men attacking a police station. The programme shows that the aftermath of the attack only made the IRA's informer problem worse.

[edit] Part 5:

Traces how unionist anger grew as IRA attacks on the security forces killed members of their community. When Margaret Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, giving the Republic of Ireland political influence in the North, the anger spilled over into talk of insurrection. The programme reveals how loyalist groups rearmed and used intelligence leaks from soldiers and police to boost their campaign of killing, including new information about MI5 agents operating inside the largest loyalist group, the Ulster Defence Association.

[edit] Part 6:

Revelations from the Northern Ireland conflict. Loyalists killed more people than the IRA in the closing years of the Troubles. Through an insider in one of the most notorious killer gangs, Mandy McAuley discovers that not only was the Ulster Volunteer Force carrying out more attacks, it was also deliberately targeting families of Irish republicans. Revelations about the murders of two young brothers lead to calls for the investigation into the killings to be reopened.

[edit] Part 7:

The story of how the Troubles ended. How the UK government policy changed, from seeking to destroy the IRA to bringing it to peace. And how secret talks, doublespeak and smart tactical manoeuvring ensured that Gerry Adams was able to persuade the IRA to go with the deal. Darragh MacIntyre hears the inside story of the peace process from within the IRA and the British government. He discovers new information about the internal battle for control of the IRA during the most delicate days of the peace process and learns about the scale of secrecy that still surrounds the conflict.

[edit] Part 8:

This film shows how the critically acclaimed television series Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History was made. Reporters, producers - even the bosses - were filmed over two years as they uncovered incredible new stories about the past. How did Jennifer O'Leary persuade a former missionary priest to reveal his role in smuggling money and weapons to the IRA? How did Darragh Macintyre find out the British and American intelligence connections to a long-hidden documentary about a senior IRA man? And how did Mandy McAuley discover that a church charity worker was actually a suspect in a series of murders across Mid Ulster?

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L3.1
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 20 (~2497Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1280x720
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps ABR 48KHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 59/89 mins
  • Number of Parts: 8
  • Part Size: 1.23 GB (average)
  • Source: HDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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