Programme Details



This week, in a new series of  ‘Conversations with Gerry Kelly,’ Gerry’s first guest is former UTV colleague and now national broadcaster, Eamonn Holmes.

In a frank and open conversation, nothing is left unsaid.

From his costly court battles with the Inland Revenue to his outspoken condemnation of the Philip Schofield scandal and his own failing health, Eamonn holds nothing back.

In a remarkably candid and honest interview, Eamonn re-assess his life and explores what the future might hold.

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Gerry’s guest this week in Conversations with Gerry Kelly is local comedian Gene Fitzpatrick.

For a man who depends on his voice and sense of timing, Gene’s long career came to a sudden halt 3 years ago when, without warning,  he suffered a stroke, leaving him unable to speak and with limited mobility. For 3 long months he lay in a hospital bed but, showing heroic determination, Gene continues to fight his way back to health.

In spite of all, he never lost his sense of humour.

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The ‘bad boy’ of Coronation Street, so he is.

Like his television soap character Jim McDonald, Charlie Lawson has a reputation of being out-spoken and controversial but a man who sticks to his own set of long held principles. Born in Enniskillen into a well to do loyalist family and educated in Belfast, Charlie talks about his rebellious teenage years, how he never met a Catholic until he was 20 and about how he flirted with a loyalist paramilitary group in Scotland before finding his vocation as an actor.

Recently married, Charlie appears content with life today although he still has a hankering to get back to the cobbled streets of Weatherfield.

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‘Come here, there’s more’ the catch phrase of one of Northern Ireland’s most successful comedians. Born in Cookstown, Jimmy Mulgrew went on to become one of the highest paid performers in the UK. Audiences came to know him as Jimmy Cricket but his climb to the top of the entertainment world didn’t come easy. Rejection after rejection, disappointment after disappointment, forced to take a series of menial job, it was Jimmy’s self-belief and determination that eventually won through.

A story of perseverance and strength of character, there is much more to Jimmy Cricket than a silly hat and a pair of wellington boots.

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In this one hour Special, Gerry’s guest tonight is Phil Coulter, one of Ireland’s foremost composers and songwriters. In a career that has spanned 6 decades, Phil has written songs for everyone from Cliff Richard to Sinéad O’Connor, from Elvis Presley to the Dubliners, from the Bay City Rollers to Billy Connelly,  amassing over 100 silver, gold and platinum discs along the way.

Tonight, Phil performs many of his hits and gives Gerry an intriguing insight into how they came about. For example, he explains how he had to forensically chose the lyrics for ‘The Town I Love So Well’ in case it would be seen - in his own words -  as just another ‘rebel song’

How intricate it was to write the rugby anthem ‘Ireland’s Call’ to ensure that no one, North or South, would be offended by the sentiments.

Throughout the programme, Phil teases us with many of his hits from the emotional ‘Scorn Not His Simplicity’ to the Bay City Rollers raucous ‘Shangalang’

Tonight’s show is a privileged insight into the personal and musical mind of the Maestro that is Phil Coulter.

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On the programme tonight, Gerry talks to William Crawley about his extraordinary life before becoming a household broadcasting name.

Born in North Belfast, the youngest in a family of 7, William talks openly about his early life and about the relationship with his alcoholic father. He talks about going to America and studying at the Princetown Theological Seminary before being ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church.

Coming back to Belfast, he was appointed Presbyterian Chaplain at the University of Ulster but gave it all up after he was approached by BBC Northern Ireland. William describes himself today as a ‘lapsed Protestant’ and doesn’t attend Church.

A fascinating interview from one of the most thought-provoking and knowledgeable journalists broadcasting today.

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Gerry’s special guest tonight is Barbara Dickson, Scotland’s biggest-selling female singer of all time. For the best part of 60 years Barbara has been captivating audiences worldwide with huge hits such as ‘Answer Me’,  ‘I Know Him So Well’ and ‘Caravan’

But not content with just a successful singing career, she turned to acting and was awarded 2 Olivier Awards for her roles in Blood Brothers and Spend, Spend, Spend.

Such success though, does not come without a cost. In a refreshingly honest interview, Barbara discloses that, in her pursuit of perfection, she once suffered from complete exhaustion which, in turn, led to the terrors of stage fright – a demoralizing affliction that would haunt her for almost 10 years.

A warm and fascinating interview ending with Barbara singing one of her biggest hit ‘Caravans’

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Frances Black, a member of one of Ireland’s most famous musical dynasties, is Gerry’s special guest tonight.

From performing in venues all over the world to her current role as an elected member of the Seanad in Ireland, Frances talks us through her absorbing life and career. Leaving no personal details out, she reveals the darkest days of her life when she became addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs. Coming out of rehab, Frances was determined to help other people and other families going through similar addictions and so she went back to university to train as an addiction counselor and in turn set up her own addiction charity, The Rise Foundation.

Today, family, making music and her charity are the anchors for this most formidable woman.

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The mere mention of tonight’s guest almost always conjures up the many attempts TV reporter Ivan Little made to pronounce the word ‘phenomenon’

During his interview with Gerry Kelly, Ivan explains the background to one of television’s most famous and hilarious bloopers.

But it’s the more serious side of Ivan’s life that makes this interview riveting.

During his time with UTV and the Belfast Telegraph, Ivan Little has covered more bombings and killings than any other journalist here. He has witnessed some truly  horrific scenes throughout the troubles and has been forced to befriend many of the callous killers who masterminded and carried out the atrocities.

Ivan talks openly about how his working life impacted his personal life and how he found a sense of normality through his love of acting.

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In the final programme of the series, Gerry dedicates a full hour to the man with a ‘voice to charm the angels’ Brian Kennedy.

With no questions out of bounds, Brian talks candidly about his unhappy family life and his abusive childhood growing up on the Falls Road.

Escaping to London as a teenager, he busked round the city’s undergrounds in order to eat, lived in a squat and even became a male stripper!

He talks about eventually being discovered by Simon Fuller and finally being spotted by Van Morrison.

From the Falls Road to Carnegie Hall, this is the story of a free-thinking man with a talent and a determination, not only to survive, but to succeed.

Throughout the hour long programme Brian sings many of the songs for which he is famous.

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