Feargal Sharkey talks punk, Derry, The Undertones and everything else with John Peel







Production 03/03/2000


21min 01sec







Vinny Cunningham


Northland Broadcast, OpenReel Productions, Tower Museum, Vinny Cunningham

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Vinny Cunningham

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Feargal Sharkey has had an illustrious career. Environmental campaigner, a managing director of EXP Ltd, CEO of British Music Rights. However, perhaps it is seven year stint as the frontman of Derry’s most famous band The Undertones that he is best known. Celebrated for their big sound, catchy songs about teenage life, love and heartbreak, The Undertones offered much needed escapism to the youth of Northern Ireland during the country’s darkest days. Sharkey’s unique quavering voice and stage presence, in combination with the O’Neill brothers guitars and drummer Billy Doherty’s driving rhythm, brought the band many hits: “My Perfect Cousin”, “Jimmy Jimmy” and, of course, “Teenage Kicks”. 

In this video, Sharkey speaks to John Peel. The Radio 1 DJ was a champion of The Undertones. He effectively kicked their profile into the stratosphere after he famously played “Teenage Kicks” twice in a row, telling his audience: “It doesn’t get much better than this.” The interview was recorded for the 2001 documentary, Teenage Kicks, by Tom Collins and Vinny Cunningham and is presented here in its uncut entirety. The footage was donated to the Tower Museum and the Digital Film Archive by Vinny Cunningham. 

Sharkey speaks candidly about his life and career pre, during and post Undertones. He discusses the band’s formation and their relationship with Peel, the impact touring can have on relationships, and his role in the music industry after leaving the band. The interview is particularly noteworthy for die-hard fans as well as anyone curious about a personal history of Derry and one of its most famous citizens. 


Vinny Cunningham is a filmmaker based in Derry.


Footage donated to the Tower Museum and the Digital Film Archive by Vinny Cunningham.



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