Frank and revealing documentary on Charlie Bird airs this week

Charlie Bird: Loud and Clear airs on RTÉ 1 this week
Frank and revealing documentary on Charlie Bird airs this week

MOTOR NEURONE DIAGNOSIS: Charlie Bird and his wife Claire.

HIS voice may not be as loud or as clear as it was previously, but his spirit remains indomitable.

Now, the frank and revealing documentary Charlie Bird: Loud And Clear on RTÉ1 on Tuesday at 9.35pm observes the veteran journalist and his wife Claire as they confronted the reality and the implications of his Motor Neurone disease.

The film looks back on Charlie’s stellar career and follows his recent attempt to climb Croagh Patrick, a project which thousands of people up and down the country joined him on.

The documentary commenced shooting in the days immediately following Bird’s diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease in late October, 2021.

Over the next six months, we observe Charlie and his wife Claire as they confronted the diagnosis and assess what it will mean for them both.

We are with Charlie as MND deprives him of his voice, a familiar, distinctive soundtrack in Irish households for decades, but we see him gaining a new one through a remarkable piece of technology, a voice-banking avatar app.

Although initially resisting what he thought would be a computerised, robotic voice, Charlie embraces it once he realises it will produce his own actual voice – harvested from the vast archive he himself generated over 40 years.

He and Claire also look back on a career that has seen him report from the frontlines of Irish politics over decades, interweaving key contributors – Tommie Gorman, Bride Rosney, George Lee and others – together with rich archive footage of those events that mattered most to him.

These include the Stardust tragedy, the IRA ceasefires, the NIB scandal, the election of Mary Robinson as first female President and the Marriage Equality Referendum.

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