Reflections from 1988

Reflections from 1988

Date: 02/07/2020 17:08

The material found within the Digital Film Archive gives us an opportunity to look back and reflect. One episode from UTV panel show, 'The Question Is' is especially pertinent. Here, presenter Barry Cowan attempts to answer the impossible question of ‘What does Northern Ireland’s future look like?’. 

The introduction of an imaginary news bulletin from the year 2008 offers a bleak future. The Troubles are ongoing, Queen Elizabeth has been succeeded by Prince [now King] Charles.

A studio panel - comprising John Osmond [expert in British identity], Paul Compton [teacher population movement and trends], and Mary Clark-Glass [activist for equality of opportunity], as well as history students John McCaffrey (Cambridge) and Mark Adair (Queen's University Belfast) - come to the same consensus as the bulletin, namely, that little will have changed two decades hence.

However, with hindsight, it is clear that this opinion was unduly gloomy. Ten years from the date of broadcast, Northern Ireland's future would be irrevocably changed by The Good Friday Agreement.

This compilation shows the lead up to the referendum, with the final clip a reflection from on those seismic events of 1998 ‘Ultimate Ulster: Favourite UTV Moment’ (2011). 

To watch the full episode of The Question is: Predicting Northern Ireland’s Future, click here.