Belfast Telegraph

BBC NI to screen vintage Kenneth Branagh as part of Freeman of the City celebrations

As part of celebrations to mark Sir Kenneth Branagh being made a Freeman of Belfast, BBC Northern Ireland has dusted off the first episode of the acclaimed drama Fortunes of War for a one-off special screening.

Fortunes of War, which was based on a series of novels by Olivia Manning, was broadcast in 1987.

It describes the relationship between Harriet and Guy Pringle - played by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh - and the effects of war on them and the friends and world around them.

The seven-part screen adaptation cost £6.5m and was one of the most expensive series made by the BBC until that point.

The screening will take place at Blackstaff Studio in Belfast on January 29 at 6.45pm.

It will feature episode one of Fortunes of War and will include a short introduction from Professor Eve Patten who has written extensively about Olivia Manning.

She will be chatting with William Crawley about Olivia Manning’s links with Northern Ireland and some of the themes that are explored in the Fortunes of War series.

There will also be the opportunity to revisit some of Kenneth Branagh’s BBC television interviews in a BBC archive showreel.

For more information on applying for tickets, visit

The event runs alongside other screenings being organised by Belfast City Council and Film Hub NI at locations around Belfast on 30 January.

Some of the highlights of the pop-up ‘Branagh in Belfast’ festival include a screening of Cinderella at Belfast Castle, where the audience is being encouraged to dress up as their favourite princess; and Dunkirk which is being shown onboard the HMS Caroline.

Into Film and Cinemagic are also coordinating a series of screenings in several schools across the city so children and young people will have the opportunity to enjoy some of Sir Kenneth’s work.

Fans of Sir Kenneth will also have the opportunity of being in the audience at a special ceremony in the Ulster Hall on Tuesday, January 30, when the Belfast-born actor will officially receive the honour.

Applications to be part of the audience can be made online via the council website  and free tickets will be allocated to Belfast residents via computerised draw.

The deadline to apply for tickets is 5pm on Friday 19 January.

Speaking back in October, Sir Kenneth described being made a Freeman of Belfast as an “incredible honour from his home town”.

He added: “Belfast has always given me more than I could ever repay."

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