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Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Discuss the brand new series of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring the likes of Julie Walters, Brian Blessed and Billy Connolly

Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby Jon Bauckham » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:43 pm

Some great comments and insight here, guys – thanks very much for sharing.
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby phsvm » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:11 pm

I found this episode very intersting but I'm not sure it was a 'Who do you think you are?' Too much emphasis on one individual.

Last night I eventually got round to watching the 100th episode anniverary programme and it highlighted just how insular and one dimensional some of the more recent programmes have become. So many of the previous episodes have dealt with both side of the subject's family but there was no mention of Brendan O'Carroll's mother.

I know this programme was very specific and trying to find out what happened to one certain person and the events leading up to the tragedy but perhaps another way of aproaching it would have been to see where his maternal family fitted into the community in the 1920s so that the two families could be compared. Did they support the IRA actively or did they do what I'm sure many families did which was to keep their heads down and try and get on with their lives as best they could? There were so many other angles that could have been explored that would have, I think, given a much rounder picture of who Brendan O'Carroll is. Having never seen Mrs Brown's Boys I had no pre-conceived ideas about him but still don't feel I know much about him unlike some of the subjects from other epiodes.

A good programme but another example of how the series has changed from it's original format.
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby Brummie on Exmoor » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:15 pm

We don't normally like the episodes which concentrate on a single subject, especially when reasonably recent. But this was gripping.

We thought that Brendan O'Carroll was very measured and dignified, especially when some of the subjects tend to gush over far less! The fact that it was rather like a 'who dunnit' didn't matter, because it was so interesting, and we got a lot of historical context. I agree with others (and have posted accordingly) that the Brian Blessed episode is the best so far this year, and the truest to the 'Who Do You Think You Are?' ethos, but this was a thoroughly good watch. Thank you.
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby Eoin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:35 am

To "phsvm" above, wondering whether this was a balanced account. It was. Alas, Irish history is not very well known or understood in the UK. In the era this programme deals with, the (old) IRA was not the divisive terrorist organisation it later became during the Northern Irish Troubles.

Immediately prior to the War of Independence, 73 out of 105 Irish MPs elected to Westminster were elected with the expressed purpose of establishing an independent Irish republic. (The remainder were MPs elected to constituencies in modern day Northern Ireland.)

Indeed, while the conflict was raging, at the very time Brendan O'Carroll's father was killed, 124 out of 128 candidates democratically elected to the new Irish parliament were Sinn Fein members, formally aligned with the IRA. So IRA soldiers had a democratic mandate and the overwhelming support of the general public.

Also, it is worth pointing out that the British Black and Tan and Auxiliary forces they came up against were far from angels. They were responsible for many actions far worse than the murder of Brendan O'Carroll's grandfather. Admittedly, I'm Irish, my grandfather fought in (what we call) The Black and Tan War, and you may think I'm biased. But here's an article from a British newspaper which describes.

Thank you for reading. ... 75005.html
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:46 am

Eoin, speaking as an Englishman, I think you are very right about our general lack of understanding of both the struggle for Irish independence and the consequent Civil War. WDYTYA has actually been very useful for me in prompting me to read a bit more about this topic.

As far as my opinion of the conduct of elements of the British military goes, well it's a purely personal one but I would point out that there have been rules of war for many years, that the killers of Brendan's grandfather would have known these rules and that it is impossible for me to see how their conduct could fit within those rules.

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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby entailleur » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:34 am

Didn't enjoy this episode at all. It was all too recent and there are still too many unhappy memories.

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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby Mctaz » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:01 am

Fascinating story, when I first saw the family photo with Peter O'Carroll, I wondered what the occasion was with Eamon de Valera standing at the back of the photo. Since no mention was made of this I assume I was mistaken, but whoever the fellow is, he does bear a striking resemblance to the later President of Ireland.
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby Markymoomoo » Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:11 pm

I cannot stand Brendan: he's about as funny as stubbing ones toe on something hard and painful, and as interesting as watching paint dry. By the end of it I really didn't care who shot his Grandfather - and don't even get me started on Mrs. Brown and her boys...
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby ksouthall » Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:12 am

Markymoomoo wrote:I cannot stand Brendan: he's about as funny as stubbing ones toe on something hard and painful, and as interesting as watching paint dry. By the end of it I really didn't care who shot his Grandfather - and don't even get me started on Mrs. Brown and her boys...

I'm sure he speaks very highly of you!
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Re: Brendan O'Carroll's episode

Postby avalard » Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:58 pm

While not being a fan of O'Carroll generally, or of the single-subject format, I found this to be an excellent episode. It was a refreshing take on a subject that was bound to court controversy in some quarters.

The Whodunnit mystery unravelling was captivating, and evidence appraised carefully throughout. It was a useful reminder that on occasion when researching one's family past, that an individual can offer far more information than others, and that some events throw up more evidence or related material.

While I wouldn't want to see every episode adopt this narrow focus, there's plenty of scope within a ten-part series to adopt the strategy on occasion.
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