A Beginner's Guide Give My Head Peace


A Beginner's Guide

Da and Uncle Andy host a highly selective look back over the Give My Head Peace years, with a little help from some celebrity guests.


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Transcript


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# With your bombs and your bullets and your goings on

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# I'm right, you're wrong

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# Too many mourning it won't be long

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-# You can see it but I'll be gone. #

-MUSIC WARPS AND STOPS

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Hello! And welcome to A Beginner's Guide to Give My Head Peace,

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with me, Da.

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Give My Head Peace without a doubt made my career.

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It certainly taught me a lot!

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And, erm, I had the best time of my life on it.

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I loved the whole buzz of doing it

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and the whole thing of being with the Hole In The Wall gang,

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who are, even then, were really, really iconic.

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You know, from 15 onwards, you know, I was watching this.

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And because of the seriousness of Belfast,

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it was great to have some Friday night fun, you know?

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The newsroom, you know, serious journalists would say,

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"Oh, I wouldn't watch that." Glued to it, glued to it,

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because they had met those individuals in their walk of life.

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Now, Give My Head Peace was a very serious political programme

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that challenged British propaganda from a Republican perspective.

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PHONE RINGS

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Phone!

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Somebody answer the ph... Sake!

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Hello? Gerry!

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Gerry, I've told you, will you stop worrying?

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I'm just going to shake the man's...

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HE SNIFFS ..hand.

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And that'll be that!

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Anyway, come on in and sit yourselves down,

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and I'll make a wee cup of tea...

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Oh!

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SHE RETCHES

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I don't mean to be rude, Ma, but that looks like a bucket of sh...

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Surely to God he hasn't...

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Several days' worth, by the looks of it.

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What?

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Why is there a bucket of...?

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That's mine!

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Don't be so bloody nosy.

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I always knew he was full of it, but did he have to show us it as well?

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I am, of course, the best loved character in Give My Head Peace.

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Everybody adores me!

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All right, Jimmy?

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You didn't tell me that bollocks was in!

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Ignore him. I always do.

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You got something for me?

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Sure, you can't even read, you beardy gobshite.

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Let's get in the car and drive like frig!

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-I'm coming, too!

-No, you're too heavy, you'll slow us down!

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Excuse me, Da, there was more to Give My Head Peace

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than you just making a tube out of yourself.

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You don't respect me very much, do you?

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Well, you're a painter.

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Look, I'll tell you what,

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we'll discuss it in the morning.

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Shut up and sit down!

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Excuse me! Is there a Catholic in the room?

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There is now!

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The whole thing started back in 1995,

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with two ceasefires and a wedding.

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When his stupid daughter married my even stupider nephew.

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And your name is...?

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HARP MUSIC

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Emer.

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That's a beautiful name.

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-Emer.

-What's your name?

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Billy.

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I think I'm in love with you, Emer.

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I love you too, Billy.

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When I first came across Give My Head Peace, I thought,

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these are vastly overdrawn characters, one-dimensional,

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in, you know, pantomime,

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farcical situations.

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And I loved it immediately.

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Mammy, Daddy, this here's Billy.

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Cal! It's a peeler!

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Quick, where's my gun? Where's my gun?

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Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!

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What did Gerry say?

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"The gun is now out of Irish politics."

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When Billy's introduced to the Catholic family

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in his police uniform...

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How do you do?

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VASE SMASHES

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Sorry, force of habit.

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Nobody had done that before.

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I was out of the chair and on the carpet.

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When Emer left Billy, he was devastated.

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I knew he'd never get over it.

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I'm an empty shell without her.

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I'm never going to look at another woman.

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-Who's that, Ma?

-There is no point in you moping about, Billy.

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-You'll never find somebody...

-Well, hello.

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Hiya.

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-Who are you?

-I'm Dympna, Emer's sister.

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She's moving in?

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I've moved in, I've been here a week.

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But I got fed up living in the attic.

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These characters who, OK,

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are supposed to be caricatures of certain individuals in our society,

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but as the years have gone on, you actually believe that they're real.

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When I'm stuck in this chair,

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I just can't do the things that normal people take for granted.

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So, when's the DLA man coming about your motability car, then?

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I'm not sure, I think I put it...

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I love Ma, of course I love Da.

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Excuse me, Commandante,

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I don't want to interrupt, but I must speak on behalf of myself

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and my campaneros.

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-Commandante?

-Yeah...

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It's just a wee nickname they have for me.

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You should've asked me, love, I've a few nicknames for him and all.

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I see.

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It's like you told us, your mother, she makes jokes at your expense.

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Mother?!

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Their dim but delightful son, Cal.

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Yes, this is Gerry and he's my puppet!

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And even though I've got my hand up his arse,

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we're not connected.

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And then, sin of all sins, Daz, this great Republican,

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his daughter, Dympna, was married to the policeman.

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Not only a Prod, but a policeman.

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We'll have to name the baby after where he was conceived.

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You know, like Brooklyn?

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Aye, you call ours

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back of an RUC Land Rover in a lay-by in Ballyhackamore.

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The Hole In The Wall Gang were not the first comedians

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to take the sacred cows of Northern Ireland out

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and have a laugh at them,

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but this was the first time anyone had done it in our living rooms.

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Hang on, the judge, he'd be on my side.

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I remember him saying, er, Troubles made people like me.

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To be fair, Luke, I think what he actually said was,

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"People like you made the Troubles."

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To have dyed-in-the-wool Loyalists and dyed-in-the-wool Republicans

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laughed at was an enormously refreshing experience.

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It was a refreshing breath of foul air, you know?

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HE SCREAMS

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-What?

-English mustard! English mustard!

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In this so-called Irish Republican house.

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It's only mustard.

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It starts with "only mustard", and before you know it,

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you have ceasefires and agreements and Gerry Adams in Downing Street

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copper-fastening partition over tea and scones.

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Well, that's where your English mustard gets you.

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As Ulster's leading Loyalist,

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I attract hugely intelligent followers.

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Like big Mervyn.

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Billy's applied to be a sergeant.

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THEY LAUGH

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-What?

-You're going to be a sergeant!

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There's more chance of Mervyn being admitted to Mensa.

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HE LAUGHS

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What?

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I can't live like this for six weeks.

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It's all right, Andy, I'll help you.

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-When I need to eat?

-I'll be there.

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-When I need a drink?

-I'll be there.

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-When I have to do a shi...?

-I'll be going now, then.

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Good luck there!

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Another close friend was Red Hand Luke.

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He was very close.

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Sometimes too close.

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Something happened to me when I was in the jail.

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It changed me.

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I don't want to hear this.

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It happens to a lot of the men in the prison.

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You know?

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I'm sorry to hear that, Luke.

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No, don't be sorry, Andrew. I think you should try it.

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If it's all the same to you, I'd rather...

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I think you should turn...

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..to God, like what I done.

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Oh! God!

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Any episode that involved, er, Pastor Begbie.

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He's an animal, he's a Neanderthal.

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He's behind you!

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The toing and froing was just wonderful.

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Memorable stuff.

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I am not an an-animal, nor a nander-ball.

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These boys are, though.

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Because unlike me,

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they have not taken the Lord Jesus Christ into their hearts,

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which is very bad news for their souls.

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But even worse for you, for your kneecaps, son.

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Politicians, I'm not sure they loved it to bits.

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The Sinn Fein candidate kit.

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It's all here. The black coat,

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the suit with the metal green ribbon.

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Has it got the Lingua Gerry tapes?

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It has.

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In 14 days, you too can be fluent in Gerry Adams.

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Coming from Divis, everybody watched Give My Head Peace.

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It was one of the first things that we kind of could watch

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and make fun of the Troubles about.

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-VOICE ON TAPE:

-Repeat after me, Sinn Fein is not the IRA.

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-What?!

-Shut up!

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Sinn Fein is not the IRA.

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Now, I noticed you didn't interrupt David Trimble.

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Now, I noticed you didn't interrupt David Trimble.

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I am absolutely pissed off.

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But it all mirrors our society, the tribal thing that we have here.

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There's a problem here, Andrew. There's nowhere to put Santa.

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Well, take that flag down!

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You'd be taking sides there.

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You'd be making a bit of a political statement.

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Take that one down!

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Then you'll upset the other side.

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Well, take both of them down.

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Then you'll annoy everybody.

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Don't be silly, it's Christmas for God's sake,

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they're not going to miss a couple of flags.

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SHOUTING

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Basically, we, the viewers, are laughing at ourselves.

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It's not easy, Mervyn!

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Hold on. I'll give you a hand.

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# Oh...

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# My love...

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# My darling...

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# I've hungered for...

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# Your touch... #

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THEY SCREAM

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BOTH: We're just making pots!

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Whatever.

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My official title was a second assistant director, eventually,

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which basically meant I tried my best

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to coordinate everything for all of our artists

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and the logistics of getting everybody from A to B.

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The glamorous world of television.

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Give My Head Peace, of course, attracted all the big A-list stars.

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George Clooney? Jennifer Lawrence?

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Well, no, more the ones who were available

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for the sort of money we were paying.

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I was in this sort of Twilight Zone episode.

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Julian?

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All right, darling?

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They made a real "mawn" of me,

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you know, coming in with the peace box and everything.

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The audience really were quite shocked, I think.

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Come on, lads, the party's over, sling your hook!

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You married him?

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That poncey presenter?

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What are you talking about?

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My Julian's a riveter down in Harland and Wolff.

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Passing building sites and everything,

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and instead of fellas shouting, "Hey, you big Jessie, you,"

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they were going, "Hiya, Julian, what about you?"

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So I thought, I've arrived at last.

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Well, come on.

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'I robbed the Northern Bank with a wonderful actor'

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called Michael Condron,

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and Billy, the cop, helped us, by accident, to steal the money,

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which he ended up in jail over.

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-Thanks very much, Officer.

-Billy. Call me Billy.

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I don't know how we could've done it without you.

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Well, that's the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

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-We're here to help.

-And you certainly have.

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Yous actually did give me my first pop on TV

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and I deeply appreciate it.

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This is a normal medical procedure, nothing to worry about.

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Trust me.

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I am a nurse.

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Argh!

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'I didn't realise how big the show was'

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until after I'd done the episode,

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because everybody was stopping and asking me about it.

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Did you have a good evening?

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Very disappointing, Andrew.

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I went for to see Shugo Duncan.

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The way he got the Shugo part

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was from one of his children at school, going to school,

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and he said that was the way they said "Shugo".

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You know, sometimes I'd be sitting there in my cell all alone,

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just thinking about...things,

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getting angrier and annoyed, and then the screws would play...

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HIGH PITCHED # Come down from the mountain, Katy Daly... #

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And everything would be all right again.

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Cos I knew my Uncle Shugo loved me.

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The boys were making some sort of a movie, some sort of film.

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GENTLE MUSIC

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I was...

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Da's love interest type.

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GUNSHOTS

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Goddammit, Blair! Just give me 24 hours!

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24 hours and I can stop this war.

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At one stage, I had to cry because I thought I was going to lose Da.

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Don't do it, Da. They'll shoot you down like a dog.

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Maybe.

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But I got to try.

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Please don't go, Da, I couldn't live if something happened to you.

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MUSIC: As Time Goes by Herman Hupfeld

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So long, kid. We'll always have Paris.

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I played Tonto,

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who was the local driving instructor-joyrider, er, for Ma.

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CAR ENGINE SCREECHES

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Quick, Ma! Get in.

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Could you not have got something in green?

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Come on.

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It's a tenner a lesson, non-refundable if I get caught.

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Nice try! Right, Charlie, I've got one of them.

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It was my first TV part. I'll never forget it.

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Stop! Stop!

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Stop the car!

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-CAR ENGINE SCREECHES

-Stop, will you?

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HE RETCHES AND SPLUTTERS

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Well, I appeared on it with George Best at one time,

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and, er...

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It really ended my career in many ways.

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The argument's been raging for years,

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who was the best player in the world? Was it you? Was it Pele?

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Well, actually, Jackie, it was neither of us.

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It was a kid I saw in the '70s.

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His name was...

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Colin, Cal...?

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Cal, that was his name, yeah.

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George had a superb Belfast-Ulster humour.

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-He just loved it.

-He was a genius, he was...

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Why he didn't turn professional, I'll never know.

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I suppose he didn't want the money, the fame and the birds,

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but, er... I don't understand it. You've got to admire it, I suppose.

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-I suppose.

-GIGGLING

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Don't listen to him.

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Geordie Best, what does he know about football?

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I was the nun and I came in chewing gum, I think,

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if I remember correctly,

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and was really nervous about it, cos I was always behind the camera.

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To suddenly be on the set of Give My Head Peace was a really big deal.

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Da goes to Downing Street.

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But the officials insist it's just a get-to-know-you meeting

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to try and improve future relations...

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Well, let me tell you, Blair...

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HE SHOUTS INDISTINCTLY

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See that Cherie Blair? She's one cheeky wee bitch.

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Well, I've worked with Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks,

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Terry George, James Marsh, Yann Demange, but I think

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working with Tim McGarry,

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Damon Quinn and Michael McDowell was, without doubt,

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the highest I've ever got to in my life.

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It was intimidating, actually.

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-AMERICAN ACCENT

-Hi, Da,

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I've been practising my Belfast accent with Cal here.

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-Would you like to hear it?

-Oh, aye.

-OK.

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HE STRAINS

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AMERICAN ACCENT

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Listen, mucker, do you think I came up the Lagan in a bubble?

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Is this black hack going up the Falls Road?

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Or what?

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-Whenever you're ready.

-No, that was it.

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And I have to hand it to the guys for the writing.

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That's just three guys turning out an awful lot of sketches,

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an awful lot of comedy,

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and an awful lot of programmes over a fair clatter of years.

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What is Denis Murray on about?

0:18:150:18:17

He said somebody actually writes this?

0:18:170:18:20

Nobody could write this.

0:18:200:18:22

Is that my line now? Right, OK.

0:18:230:18:25

It was the best time in my professional life, by a long shot.

0:18:250:18:30

And I just hope that you get a series.

0:18:300:18:33

-Thank you very much. Gentlemen...

-That must be extra money.

0:18:340:18:37

That MUST be worth extra money.

0:18:370:18:39

# Oh, marching season, marching songs

0:18:390:18:42

# Hitting drums all summer long

0:18:420:18:44

# Sun is out, weather's fine

0:18:440:18:47

# Balaclavas on the line

0:18:470:18:49

# Ah, she says that I says

0:18:490:18:51

# Why don't you give my head some?

0:18:510:18:54

# She says that I says

0:18:540:18:56

# Why don't you give my head some peace! #

0:18:560:19:00

Da and Uncle Andy host a highly selective look back over the Give My Head Peace years, with a little help from some celebrity guests.


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