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BBC Storyville: Irish adoption
29 Mar 2015 16:04
Described as a "funny and moving" documentary, Daisy Asquith's film tells of her mother's conception after a dance in 1940s West of Ireland. My Mother: The Secret Baby can be seen on Monday March 30 at 10.00pm on BBC 4.
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Daisy's grandmother was compelled to run away from her Co Clare home to have her baby in secret. The child was subsequently handed over to a religious order of nuns.
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Daisy's mother was eventually adopted by English Catholics from Stoke-on-Trent. Her grandmother returned to Ireland and told no-one. The father remained a mystery for another 60 years until Daisy and her mother finally connected with a family who had hitherto been been strangers.
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Asquith describes her quest in the film as a compulsion. “I needed to know who my relatives were. Growing up without that knowledge gives one a sense of being a cuckoo, not fitting, not knowing what one is made of. It’s disorientating. I wanted my mum to be able to know too."
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It took the respected film-maker about 20 years to realise the long-cherished project. “I started making it when I was 17 and bought my first secondhand camcorder from the Friday ad. That was when I started to film my mum.
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"But it took me twenty years to find the courage to stand up to the people in my family that wanted to keep us secret. Storyville supported the idea for 4 years, while I wrestled with my relatives and myself to an extent.
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"I had many doubts and fearful moments before I found the courage and conviction to make it. They were very patient. I learnt that it is important to keep pushing against conservatism, religious prejudice and shame. Even if it hurts. Giving up hurts more. “
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