Irish Rock at the BBC

Irish Rock at the BBC


The evolving nature of Irish rock is tidily captured in this tin-whistlestop tour. Thin Lizzy kick off with Whiskey in the Jar, the riff-powered spin on a trad favourite. “Musha ring dum a do dum a da!” Over 30 years, we hear how Emerald Isle influence has been tinged with blues (Rory Gallagher), punk (Peel darlings the Undertones) and rockabilly (bodhran-bashing Imelda May). And how comic inflections became overt in the Divine Comedy, whose National Express seemed to be an ode to mid-period Carry On.

Other highlights include the Steptoe and Son plod of the Pogues’ Dirty Old Town, a pre-controversy Sinead O’Connor and Bob Geldof pretending to play sax.


A compilation of Irish rock performances from the early 1970s onwards, with acts including Thin Lizzy, Ash, the Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, U2, Sinead O'Connor, the Pogues, Imelda May, Cavan, Hozier and the Divine Comedy. The programme features clips from a variety of BBC shows, including the Old Grey Whistle Test, Top of the Pops, and Later with Jools Holland.

Cast & Crew

Performer Thin Lizzy
Performer Ash
Performer The Undertones
Performer Stiff Little Fingers
Performer U2
Performer Sinead O'Connor
Performer The Pogues
Performer The Divine Comedy
Performer Imelda May
Performer Cavan
Performer Hozier
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
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