Belfast Telegraph

Stars assemble as filming begins on BBC thriller of hit post-Troubles book

By David Young

A wealth of top Ulster acting talent is gathering in Belfast this week as filming for The Truth Commissioner, a major new BBC political thriller, gets under way.

Adapted from the award-winning 2008 novel by David Park, the film will be shot at locations in Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin over the next five weeks.

The cast is headed by The Thick of It star Roger Allam, who stars as Henry Stanfield, a career diplomat who has just been appointed Truth Commissioner to Northern Ireland.

Stanfield is charged with leading an inquiry into the disappearance, 20 years earlier, of 15-year-old boy Connor Roche.

But his investigations uncover a tangled web of lies and truths which none of those in power are prepared to reveal.

Allam is joined by a glittering array of Ulster acting talent, including Shadow Dancer actress Brid Brennan and The Fall's Sean McGinley, as well as Game of Thrones actors Conleth Hill and Ian McElhinney.

Filming for The Truth Commissioner will take place at historic locations across Northern Ireland, including Londonderry's Guildhall - the setting for the real-life Bloody Sunday inquiry - and Belfast's Stormont Castle, home of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Described as a "edgy, compelling film that goes behind the rhetoric of the Northern Ireland peace process", the Truth Commission is directed by Declan Recks, and is being produced by Belfast-based production company BT9 Films for Big Fish Films and Samson Films.

Big Fish Films' Eoin O'Callaghan said: "David Park's prescient and provocative novel about the unintended fallout from a peace process has made a profound impression on commentators and governments wherever the idea of truth commission has been mooted.

"The film has a brilliant and believable script," he added.

"The characters and situations are vividly drawn and the Northern Ireland setting really brings to life this compelling moment in history.

"With Declan at the helm, it's going to be a beautiful picture."

"It is hardly a surprise that all the major film funders in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have put their weight behind this important film," said O'Callaghan.

The Truth Commission - which is being made in association with Northern Ireland Screen, BBC Northern Ireland, the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - will be broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland later this year.

Background

Set in a post-Troubles Northern Ireland, The Truth Commissioner follows the fictional story of Henry Stanfield, played by Roger Allam, a career diplomat who has just been appointed as Truth Commissioner to Northern Ireland. Eager to make good as a peacemaker, the Prime Minster urges a commission following the South African model of Truth and Reconciliation. But, though Stanfield starts bravely, he quickly uncovers some bloody and inconvenient truths about those now running the country; truths which none of those in power are prepared to have revealed.

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