Derry teacher to feature on UTV’s Frontline

Sandra Biddle
Sandra Biddle

A Derry Speech and Drama teacher, who taught throughout the Troubles, is to feature on UTV’s Frontline series.

UTV’s Frontline continues on Tuesday, with the six part series highlighting the professions and vital services on the Frontline which helped to keep Northern Ireland functioning during The Troubles.

Sandra Biddle, who taught Speech and Drama in Derry throughout the Troubles, talks about having to take children out the back door of Magee due to a bomb scare, with one child questioning why bombs were so dear, the child thinking that a 2,000lb bomb meant money not weight! Sandra marvels at their innocence saying, ‘What would you do……..I just hugged her.”

Produced in-house by UTV, and using footage from UTV’s rich archive library, the series of programmes is looking back at the Troubles and the people who dedicated their lives to the various professions who kept life moving despite the conflict that was going on.  

Doctors and Nurses shared their stories in the first two episodes, and Episode 3 shines a light on the teaching profession, who tried to keep life as normal as possible for children going to and from school and during the school day, sometimes literally getting caught in the crossfire.

The programme also outlines how the Ulster Workers’ Strike in 1974 didn’t stop children taking exams, or teachers getting to school. The teachers interviewed ensured school remained a safe place, refusing to close despite pressures from various groups. Bomb scares were dealt with calmly and teachers all used innovative methods to shield the children from the turmoil. They also speak with pride in their involvement with the early days of cross-community projects to broaden young people’s horizons.

Series Producer Sinead Hughes, said, “The professions we are highlighting in this series are the unsung heroes of that time, and we were delighted that so many teachers - many of whom who have long since retired - shared their personal and moving stories. The series is ‘must watch’ not only for those who lived in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, but also for our younger people who gladly did not have to experience life in that time.”

Episode 3 of ‘Frontline’ is on UTV on Tuesday 1 st October at 10.45pm on UTV. Viewers can catch up on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes. Follow the conversation on Twitter @UTVPRESS.