First Night: Drama follows 'Four' film screening: In The Name Of The Father: Committee Room 20, House of Commons
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Wednesday 02 February 1994
After this advance showing to MPs of the dramatised story of the Guildford Four, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson, two Tory MPs accused the director of giving a misleading impression about how republican prisoners are treated.
Lord Fitt, who played a long and active role in the case, called the film a 'total misrepresentation'. This was followed by crying relatives of the Conlons - father and son were imprisoned - waving letters at Lord Fitt and accusing him of not going far enough. The director, Jim Sheridan, leapt up to defend himself, not entirely convincingly, saying that he wasn't making a documentary.
Gerry Conlon (the son) then made an impassioned speech to MPs in the committee room where the film was shown, calling on them to re-open the case to reveal the real murderers. He added that he still had nightmares about his beatings by the police, but said: 'English people, English MPs and English church leaders played the lead role in getting me out of prison. It wasn't Irish people. I would never want to be part of a film that stigmatised a whole nation or a whole police force for the actions of a few.'
The nightmarish story of the wrongful arrest, beatings and imprisonment of the Guildford Four is a tense and dramatic one, powerfully conveyed in this taut film even if that tension and drama wasn't helped by the film being halted at a crucial stage for MPs to vote on the Finance Bill. Nor was it helped by a host of inaccuracies which raise questions about the treatment of recent history and give those who oppose mass circulation for this story grounds to criticise it. The debate over the trend towards faction is certain to intensify.
UIP, the film's producers, were invited to screen it to an audience of MPs and peers by MPs Peter Bottomley and Harry Barnes, joint presidents of New Consensus, which campaigns for political reform in Northern Ireland.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Germanwings plane crash: Investigators may have already found remains of suspected killer co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...
£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Structural Engineer ...