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Ulster-Scots programming for Burns Night

Date Posted: January 25, 2013

Friday 25th January on BBC Two Northern Ireland
9.00pm: An Ode to Burns and Ulster
9.30pm: Eddie Reader’s Rabbi Burns Trip

Two new productions funded through the Northern Ireland Screen Ulster-Scots Broadcast Fund (USBF) will be broadcast this Friday 25th January on BBC Northern Ireland.
The first programme at 9.00pm, An Ode to Burns and Ulster, is a 30 minute documentary presented by Neil Oliver, produced by DoubleBand Films for BBC Northern Ireland.

“As a Scot, I’m fascinated with Robert Burns’ influence on Ulster. I want to know how and why my national poet has had such an influence on the other side of the Irish Sea.” – Neil Oliver.

As Neil Oliver says, being a Scot he is intrigued by – and eager to understand – the influence that his own national poet, Robert Burns, has had on modern Ulster poets.

With that in mind, in this literary odyssey Neil travels from Scotland to Northern Ireland to explore and understand how and why this literary and cultural connection has taken shape.

It is a journey that will take Neil to key locations across Ulster, to meet with leading poets such as Tom Paulin, Michael Longley and Seamus Heaney and to hear how they have been influenced, in various ways, by Burns, from his use of simple vernacular speech, his politics, his love of nature, and his sense of place.

At 9.30pm, in Eddie Reader’s Rabbie Burns Trip, produced by Tern Television, Eddi takes to the road in a camper van to share her love of Robert Burns and to learn about Ulster’s ‘Weaver Poets’ and the language and themes they shared with him.

Just as Robbie Burns worked as a flax stresser, the Weaver Poets of Ulster worked in the linen industry and were largely contemporaries of Burns. Eddi starts her journey by visiting the Irish Linen Centre in Lisburn where she discovers how the rhythm of the machinery may have influenced the poets in their writing. Then, in the Linenhall Library, Belfast, she finds rare works of Burns donated by his great-granddaughter who lived in the city.

Interspersed throughout the programme are performances by Eddi of her own acclaimed interpretations of Burns songs such as Charlie Is My Darling, My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose and Auld Lang Sayne, from a recent concert in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.

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