Former nurses from Derry to feature in new UTV series

Ursula Clifford
Ursula Clifford

Two former nurses from Derry who worked in Altnagelvin Hospital during the Battle of the Bogside are to feature in a new TV series.

UTV is marking the 50th anniversary of the start of The Troubles with a brand new six-part series called ‘Frontline’.

Ursula Clifford

Ursula Clifford

Using footage from UTV’s rich archive library, the series of programmes looks back at the Troubles and the vital services on the Frontline which helped to keep Northern Ireland functioning during that turbulent period.

The series shines a light on five key groups of people, who give first hand accounts of their jobs and how they dedicated their lives to their various professions to keep life moving despite the conflict that was going on.

They include doctors and nurses in the various casualty departments of the big hospitals across the North who dealt day and daily with the effects of bombs and bullets and the teaching profession who share memories of trying to keep life as normal as possible for children sometimes literally caught in the crossfire.

Well-known faces from the world of entertainment give insights into how the industry survived and indeed thrived during the Troubles.

Attracta Bradley

Attracta Bradley

The series also focuses on social workers who were there to provide vital support to clients and families living in very desperate circumstances and key figures from the business community, who talk about the economic impact of the Troubles and how they and their staff continued on undaunted by the destruction to their businesses.

Doctors and nurses are the focus of the first two episodes.

With over 37,000 people shot over the course of the Troubles, and 16,000 injured in bombing attacks, hospital casualty departments were incredibly busy and sometimes chaotic places.

Nurses and doctors from the hospitals across the North, including Altnagelvin, remember the worst atrocities of the Troubles and how in those times all staff, whether on duty or off, assisted how they could, and how emergency plans were developed and honed over the years to ensure that all those injured had the best chance of survival.

Former Nurses Attracta Bradley and Ursula Clifford speak of their time in Altnagelvin and helping people injured during the Battle of the Bogside, and how busy the operating theatres were.

Series Producer Sinead Hughes, said: “We very much wanted to reflect ordinary life in marking this anniversary. The professions we have highlighted in this series are somewhat the unsung heroes of that time.

“It was an absolute honour for me and the team to speak to the interviewees, most of whom have long since retired from their profession, and who shared their very personal and moving stories. All of them were united in their praise for colleagues for their professionalism and dignity during very difficult and trying circumstances.

“The series is ‘must watch’ not only for those who lived in Northern Ireland during that time, but also for our younger people who gladly did not have to experience life in that time.”

‘Frontline’ starts on UTV on Tuesday, September 17 at 10.45pm and runs for six weeks. Viewers can catch up on www.itv.com/utvprogrammes