Brendan Behan on Capital Punishment


About this Item

An interview with Brendan Behan on the abolition of capital punishment.

  • Title
    Brendan Behan
  • Production Year
  • Contributor
    John Ross (Reporter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Clip title
    Brendan Behan on Capital Punishment
  • Extended description

    In early 1964, the Irish Government announced the abolition of capital punishment. Brendan Behan's play 'The Quare Fellow' is a critque of capital punishment and is set in a prison in the hours before an execution.

    In the only surviving Telefís Éireann (now RTÉ) interview with Brendan Behan, the writer gives his opinion on the decision. By 1964, Brendan Behan was suffering badly from a combination of the effects of years of heavy drinking and diabetes.

    In this clip, although Behan is somewhat slow in conveying his thoughts, his passion for the subject comes through. Brendan Behan died a short time after this interview on 20 March 1964.

  • Information

    'The Quare Fellow', the play which established Behan's reputation in Ireland and abroad, was produced by Carolyn Swift and Alan Simpson for Dublin's Pike Theatre in 1954. A 1956 production of 'The Quare Fellow' by Joan Littlewood for the Theatre Royal, Stratford brought Behan to international attention. Drawing on Behan's own experiences, 'The Quare Fellow' is set in a prison in the twenty-four hours preceding an execution. The play is a critique of capital punishment; "the quare fellow" refers to the condemned man who is never seen.

    The interview shown here was probably recorded in early 1964 but appears not to have been broadcast.

  • Local keywords
    Literature, Brendan Behan, Capital Punishment, Writers, John Ross
  • Geographical coverage
    Dublin, Ireland
  • Topic
    Arts and Culture
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    Telefís Éireann
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)