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TG4 Explores The Wild West With ‘Cowboys’
07 Oct 2009 :
TG4 this week introduces a new seven part series, ‘Cowboys’, that profiles seven legendary Wild West characters and examines and explores the myths of the old West to reveal what really happened. ‘Cowboys’ is produced and directed by Brian Reddin of Dearg Films.

From the Battles at the Alamo and Little Big Horn to the outlaw antics of Butch Cassidy and Jesse James, this series will explore their Irish connections and attempt to distinguish the facts from the spin of contemporary writers and mythmakers. The director of photography for the documentary series is Gerry MacArthur and Darren Chan is the project’s editor.

The seven presenters, who producer/director Brian Reddin refers to as “The Magnificent Seven” will each examine an individual legend of the old west. The new documentary will be followed in the TG4 programme schedule by the classic Western film which gave the story the Hollywood treatment.

Brian Reddin says he has, since childhood, always been fascinated by cowboy films and tales which he believes it is an unequivocally Irish trait. He tells IFTN: “There is an unbelievable interest in westerns amongst the Irish, we see ourselves as connected to them, which is mostly true – several men with Irish roots grew to prominence in America and gained notoriety as outlaw personalities.”

He continues by saying, “I wanted to make the series to show that when it comes to renowned cowboys there is always an Irish connection, for example ten men of the Alamo were Irish born and Billy the Kid’s mother was from Dublin.”

The ‘Cowboys’ team made three trips to the United States to places like Texas and Montana over a period of nine weeks where they visited sites of infamous scenes and old haunts of the outlaws chronicled in the series. They also reconstructed important events that occurred during the lives of the studied cowboys and met with ancestors of the notorious personalities such as Davy Crockett’s great, great, granddaughter. The team wrapped shooting in late June of this year.

On Friday, October 9th, a documentary about ‘The Alamo’ will be presented by TG4 presenter Páidí Ó Lionáird (Turas Teanga) and will be followed by the classic 1960 film of the same name, starring and directed by John Wayne. Páidí will also seek to discover what happened during the siege of the Alamo and finds out why so many Irish died defending Texas.

The following weeks will see the following:

A ‘Billy the Kid’ documentary will be presented by travel writer and author Manchán Magan (No Béarla ) and will be followed by the classic 1973 Sam Peckinpah film ‘Pat Garret and Billy the Kid’ starring Kris Kristofferson.

A ‘Jesse James’ documentary presented by TG4 presenter and panelist Tom Ó Brannagáin (Glas Vegas) and will be followed by Walter Hill’s 1980 classic film ‘The Long Riders’ starring the Carradine, Quaid, Keach, Ford and the Guest brothers.

A documentary exploring the infamous ‘Gunfight at the Ok Corral’ will be presented by Hothouse Flowers member and producer/composer Fiachna Ó Braonáin and will be followed by the Western classic 1994 film ‘Wyatt Earp’ starring Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and Gene Hackman. Fiachna also travels to Tombstone, Arizona where he visits the Ok Corral and traces the footsteps of Wyatt Earp as he discovers the gun fight was not a clear cut case of good versus evil.

‘Butch Cassidy’s documentary will be presented by actor Tom Ó Súilleabháin (Rásaí na Gaillimhe) and followed by George Roy Hill’s 1969 ‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid’ staring Paul Newman & Robert Redford.

TG4 presenter, Dáithí Ó Sé (You’re a Star) will present a documentary by the name of ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ which will be followed by the rousing albeit somewhat inaccurate 1941 film ‘They Died With Their Boots On’, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

Finally, actor Don Wycherley (Rásaí na Gaillimhe) will present a documentary about ‘Buffalo Bill’ which will be followed by Robert Altman’s 1976 western ‘Buffalo Bill & the Indians’ starring Paul Newman.

Brian Reddin tells IFTN: “I always knew there was an interest out there in western films and now people can see the true-life stories of these men and enjoy the classic films straight after” The series will run on TG4 on Fridays at 8.30pm starting on October 9th. Each documentary will be repeated on Thursdays at 9.30pm on TG4.

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