Sinead Keenan to star in Northern Ireland abortion drama for BBC

Three Families will tell the true stories of real women.
Sinead Keenan to star in Northern Ireland abortion drama for BBC

By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Little Boy Blue actress Sinead Keenan will star a BBC drama about abortion in Northern Ireland.

Three Families will be set between 2013 and 2019 and will tell the real story of three women and their families before the recent change to legislation.

It will also star Bloodlands actress Lola Petticrew, Gentleman Jack’s Amy James-Kelly and The Dry’s Genevieve O’Reilly.

Tolkien UK Premiere – London
Genevieve O’Reilly (Ian West/PA)

Abortion laws in the region were liberalised by MPs at Westminster in 2019 at a time when powersharing was collapsed.

New regulations came into operation a year ago and, while individual health trusts are offering services on an ad hoc basis, the Department of Health has yet to centrally commission the services on a region-wide basis.

However, in the absence of fully commissioned services being available, women from Northern Ireland are still travelling to England to access abortions.

The programme, which will change names and details to ensure the anonymity of the real people, will explore the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland, and the experience of families whose lives have been affected.

The two-part drama will be written by Gwyneth Hughes and and directed by The White Princess’s Alex Kalymnios.

Susan Hogg, the show’s executive producer, said: “Growing up in Northern Ireland I was always aware of the heated debate surrounding the issue of abortion and this is a story I’ve wanted to tell for many years.

“Three Families goes behind the headlines to tell the true stories of women and girls and their loved ones who have been deeply affected by the law and some of those who worked to change it.”

Hughes added: “I knew the law was different, but I had no idea what that really meant until I went to Northern Ireland and met some of the families involved.

“I’ve been deeply touched by their experiences and feel honoured to be asked to share their stories. I think the contributors will all be moved, as I am, by the extraordinary truthfulness and emotional depth that these wonderful actors bring to their stories.”

Filming took place in Northern Ireland last year.

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