Belfast Telegraph

Radio’s action team for elderly makes TV debut

It's the focal point for a bunch of energetic pensioners who are on air, on the ball and on the same wavelength.

This group of senior citizens is behind the only radio show in Northern Ireland that is made by pensioners for pensioners and they come together once a week to broadcast live to listeners.

A new BBC One Northern Ireland documentary follows members of the Afternoon Delight team that includes 87-year-old singing sensation Jimmy Keenan and 69-year-old Sean McCaffrey and his wife Colette, who juggle their radio duties with a hectic home life.

In Grey FM on Monday, January 31 at 10.35pm, viewers get an insight into the lives and the homes of some of those involved.

Jimmy has lived alone since his wife of 66 years died 15 years ago. But age doesn’t hold up Jimmy and his love of singing and life means that he’s on the go and as active as ever.

Even though Sean’s retired, life hasn’t slowed down — so much so that he and Colette have had to build their own private ‘retreat’ in their garden to get some peace and quiet. They look after their grandson and Colette’s mother also lives with them.

The pensioners are also active campaigners for the rights of their generation. Before last year’s election they campaigned for fuel grants, about pensioner poverty, care and against ageism — these are just some of the issues they campaigned about.

The documentary, made by Besom Productions and Erica Starling Productions for BBC Northern Ireland, follows the group as they launch their pensioners’ manifesto outside Belfast City Hall in the run-up to last year’s election.

Producing and presenting the radio show also takes a lot of work. Each week the pensioners discuss the burning issues that are at the heart of their communities and topics that matter to their generation.

Aaron Black, who filmed and directed the programme, said: “As a society we’re probably getting more used to hearing from an older generation who didn’t always have a voice in the past, campaigning for the issues that affect them.”

He said the documentary gave faces to the people who were heard on the radio: “Grey FM lets viewers meet some of those involved in the radio programme that is made for senior citizens.

“However, we also wanted to show viewers that this group of pensioners, far from letting their lives drift by, is as active and important to their families and community as they ever have been.

“By telling the stories of what happens outside of the studio and in their houses we were able to give an intimate insight into love, loss and responsibility.

“I’m sure a lot of viewers will be able to identify with them and with what happens in their lives.”

Grey FM is on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday, January 31 at 10.35pm.

Belfast Telegraph


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