Watch a clip of the film the Irish government didn't want us to see ... in 1935

A new 90-minute documentary will tell the complete story of the Irish Revolution for the first time in colour.

Exclusive to British Pathé TV and narrated by Allen Leech, of Downton Abbey fame, "Revolution in Colour" has been more than 80 years in the making by the world-famous newsreel archive, British Pathé.

The epic feature-length documentary charts the entire course of Irish independence from Home Rule to Civil War

The project had been quashed by the Irish government when it was first attempted in 1935 (British Pathé’s film reels were even confiscated) but now finally sees the light of day as the result of a major collaboration between the Pathe archive and Zampano Productions, the acclaimed producers of Seven Women, TK Whitaker – Seirbhíseach an Stáit and The People’s Tenor.

The film makes use of duplicates of the lost film reels which British Pathé had saved for posterity.


In telling this important story at last, the producers have done something which the Irish government of 1935 could never have imagined.

The BAFTA-nominated team behind WW2 in HD Colour has painstakingly colourised the original footage so that the events of that tumultuous period can be seen, for the first time, as they were witnessed by those who lived through them – in full colour.

“When you watch black and white, you are detached from the personalities and the history,” says director Martin Dwan. “There is something about colour that triggers empathy with people.”

Viewers can see such personalities as Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins and Lloyd George; such critical events as the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the funeral of revered IRB leader O’Donovan Rossa; and such dramatic scenes as the destruction of Limerick.

Guerrilla warfare in the countryside, the fighting in the streets and British reprisals are all featured in fascinating original footage, along with rarely-seen footage of pre-independence Ireland – all in full colour.

Revolution in Colour is the exclusive flagship programme of the new online on-demand channel, British Pathé TV.

The General Manager of British Pathé, Alastair White, explains: “The archive looks amazing in colour and this programme fits in perfectly with our aim at British Pathé TV, which is to offer a wide range of programming that provides a genuine alternative to mainstream television and tailors to specialist interests.”

The 90-minute film is written by respected Trinity College Dublin historian Eunan O’Halpin and is narrated by Allen Leech, known for his work as Tom Branson in the hit TV series Downton Abbey and as the Soviet double-agent John Cairncross in the Oscar-winning The Imitation Game.

Find out more about the full documentary here.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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