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Ballylenon: The Complete Series 1-8  By  cover art

Ballylenon: The Complete Series 1-8

By: Christopher Fitz-Simon
Narrated by: Aine McCartney, Full Cast, Gerard Murphy, John Hewitt, Margaret D'Arcy, Stella McCusker, TP McKenna
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Publisher's summary

All eight series of the comedy drama series set in a Donegal town in the 1950s and '60s

Ireland in the fifties, and the days of mass tourism and indoor plumbing have not yet come to rural Co. Donegal. But in the small, sleepy town of Ballylenon, change is coming, and trouble is brewing.

A power struggle is under way for control of the town, with two rival forces aligned against each other. Seeking to rule the roost are hotel owner and undertaker Phonsie Doherty and his allies, sisters Muriel and Vera McConkey. These two formidable ladies are in charge of the corner shop/Post Office and Telephone Exchange, and are known as the eyes and ears of Ballylenon - while the voice is provided by local newspaper The Vindicator.

Between them, they seem to have the means of communication sewn up - but the opposing faction, led by primary teacher Vivienne Boal, the Reverend Samuel Hawthorne, and police officer Guard Gallagher, are determined to have their say. A supporter of cultural causes, such as music festivals and architectural conservation, Vivienne is bright, breezy and apparently straightforward - but she manages to achieve certain aims by devious means...

The antagonism between the two camps is thinly veiled - and the causes for dissension range from a proposal to demolish the Georgian courthouse to build a car park, to arguments over a ramshackle cottage that may have belonged to the family of US President Herbert Hoover. But as the Sixties dawn, the town faces a threat that unites the whole community in moral outrage: the arrival of television...

Christopher Fitz-Simon's playful yet cynical look at Irish village life stars TP McKenna, Gerard Murphy, Margaret D'Arcy and Stella McCusker.

Production credits
Written by Christopher Fitz-Simon
Directed by Eoin O'Callaghan (Series 1-5,7,8) and Peter Kavanagh (Series 6)
Music arranged and performed by Stephanie Hughes
Pianist: Michael Harrison

First broadcast BBC Radio 4: 8 June-13 July 1994 (Series 1), 18 July-8 August 1995 (Series 2), 4-25 June 1996 (Series 3), 3-24 December 1997 (Series 4), 15 June-20 July 1998 (Series 5), 18 June-23 July 1999 (Series 6), 25 November 2009-6 January 2010 (Series 7), 26 January-2 March 2011 (Series 8)

Phonsie Doherty - TP McKenna/Gerard Murphy
Muriel McConkey - Margaret D'Arcy
Vera McConkey - Stella McCusker
Vivienne Boal/Mrs McFinney - Aine McCartney
Guard Gallagher - John Hewitt/Frankie McCafferty
Reverend Samuel Hawthorne - Gerard Murphy/Miche Doherty/Dermot Crowley
RL Watson - Roma Tomelty
O'Brollochain/Joe MacMonagle/Canon Friel- Kevin Flood
Kevin 'Stumpy' Bonnar - Gerard McSorley
Eithne Ni Phartalain/Primrose ffrench O'Dowd/Sister Gabriel - Marcella Riordan
Aubrey Frawley - Dominic Letts/Matthew Addis/Chris McHallem
Peg Sweeney - Anna Manahan/Marcella Riordan
Post Office engineer - Robert Patterson
Jonathan ffrench O'Dowd - Wesley Murphy
Packy McGoldrick - Charlie Bonnar/Tim Loane
Josie Doherty - Ciara McKeown/Cathy White/Ali White
Mr Mawhinney - Harry Towb
Father O'Flatley - John Guiney
Bohunkus Smith - BJ Hogg
Terry Black - Mark Lambert
Consuela Dooley - Cathy Belton
Daniel O'Searcaigh - James Greene
Monsignor McFadden - Niall Cusack
Polly Acton - Joanna Munro
Eamonn Doyle - Patrick Fitzsymons
Mr Boylan - Derek Bailey
with Ruairi McAteer, Catriona O'Reilly, Danielle Costigan and Fabio Aprile

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic reviews

"Christopher Fitz-Simon's writing is a delicious mix of gentle and sharp, vividly bringing to life the rhythms of speech and social interaction in this Irish village setting." (The Guardian)