His ambitious stunt became a subject of debate in the House of Commons. 

Diana Dors, the Marilyn Monroe of British entertainment, jostled to have her picture taken with him and boxing icon Joe Louis was so taken by his feat, he reached out across the Atlantic to make contact.

To the watching world in 1968 Mick Meaney was the ordinary Irish builder with the extraordinary dream of breaking the world record for time spent buried alive underground in London.

His bizarre record attempt began with a Last Supper, energised emigrant Kilburn and was pushed along by Kerry publican turned promoter Butty Sugrue

The record stood at 45 days and belonged to the colourful American Digger O’Dell. 

In an attempt to overcome it, Meaney was pitted against challenger ‘Country Bill White’, moral outrage, and a terrifying battle of claustrophobic proportions.

Two men, buried the same week in different continents - the story was fixed upon by Fleet Street’s media who drove thousands to Meaney’s graveside with a diet of daily headlines. 

There, in Keane’s Yard, Mick bedded down, dark and deep in the world of the dead.

But who was the man behind the challenge and where did he get his strength? What was it about the attempt that brought the world’s media to an Irish enclave in North West London; that sent the BBC scrambling for a satellite link-up. 

And what did the world see when the coffin lid came off? 

‘Mick Meaney - Buried Alive’ is the surreal story of a man who found stardom beneath six feet of soil, but for how long and at what cost?

Contributors include Mick's daughter, Mary Meaney from Mitchelstown, Co Cork; David Keane, whose father owned the site where Mick Meaney was buried; John Kane from Mayo; publican and businessman Christy Kissane, who sadly has passed away since the making of this documentary; undertaker Paddy Ryan; John Healy, author of the best selling penguin classic - The Grass Arena.    

Narrated by George Hamilton
Produced by Robert Mulhern
Production Supervision by Sarah Blake
Sound Supervision by Richard McCullagh

Saturday 12th December 2015 @ 2pm

Photo Credits: Mary Meaney/Brent Archive/Killorglin Archive Society

If you are interested in reading more about the story of Mick Meaney, his daughter, Mary, has written a book about his life called ‘You Can’t Eat Roses Mary’.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries