My Mother and Other Strangers
Rural drama follows the fortunes of the Coyne family and their neighbours after a huge US airfield lands in the middle of their rural parish.
Set in Northern Ireland during World War Two, My Mother and Other Strangers follows the fortunes of the Coyne family and their neighbours as they struggle to maintain a normal life after a huge United States Army Air Force (USAAF) airfield, with 4,000 service men and women, lands in the middle of their rural parish.
The series has been created and written by Barry Devlin (Darling Buds of May, Ballykissangel).
Compelling weekly stories, many of them based on events of the time, are held together by an ongoing love story that enfolds and imprisons Rose Coyne, the parish school teacher and a pillar of the local community, in a dangerous love triangle between her husband, Michael, and the charming USAAF liaison officer, Captain Dreyfuss. Meanwhile, the Coyne’s children, sixteen year old Emma, Francis, ten, and Kate, seven, have no idea of the strains under which their parents’ marriage creaks.
Stephen Wright, Head of Drama for BBC Northern Ireland, says, “When I was growing up I spent some of my childhood around the shores of Lough Neagh in County Antrim, and I have a really clear memory of standing at the side of Portmore, (‘the wee lough’ that lay beside the much bigger Lough Neagh) with my cousins and my brother, looking out onto this small bit of shallow water, and seeing the tail of a plane sticking up. I always wondered why, in the middle of this quiet rural place, there was a World War Two aircraft.
"It was a Grumman Wildcat that crashed on Christmas Eve on the way to practice dive bombing over Lough Neagh. I saw the fragments of the past around the place I lived in, abandoned buildings, runways and a plane that crash landed and was never recovered. What I did not know were the stories of those people in that time, and nothing about the history of the many American bases that were built during the war.
"When Barry Devlin pitched the idea to me, with his own family memories of growing up in a quiet rural place and suddenly having an airbase beside their small Irish village, I could instantly see the potential for stories. How did these two different worlds coexist? Barry writes with a great passion and emotional truth about this world and the characters he knows so well, and I hope that resonates with viewers. As for the plane, aviation enthusiasts recovered it and as far as I know have restored it.”
My Mother and Other Strangers is the first drama commission to be announced since the publication of the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen Partnership Agreement in March 2015. This joint agreement sees the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen work together to invest financially and creatively in developing an internationally competitive screen industry in Northern Ireland.