14 August 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
The Long Journey Home
03 Jul 1998 :

The Long Journey Home a seven part series tracing the history of the Irish in America achieved record viewing figures, doubling and in some cases tripling the normal Public Broadcasting Service figures. The $ 4 million series, the first serious documentary made by Disney through its television arm Buena Vista was directed by Emmy winner Thomas Lennon.

The documentary follows the Irish from the first wave of famine emigrants, to middle class respectability, and the election of John F Kennedy using rare photographs, illustrations and interviews. It examines the role of the Irish today in America where 41 of the top chief operating officers claim Irish roots. It is billed as the history of the Irish in America from an American perspective and aimed primarily at the 44 million Americans who claim direct descent.

The approach of the millennium has apparently created a fascination among certain 'consumer' groups about their past and their roots according to extensive research carried out by Disney. The Long Journey Home is a seven part series which itself is part of a series of programmes known as the Tribes of America which will feature a series on ethnic groups such as Jews, Hispanics and Blacks due to run over the next few years.

The series will be shown on RTE soon and is expected to be shown on BBC later this year. The involvement of Disney of course means a huge merchandising campaign to go with it, the video will go on sale shortly and the book is to be released later this year and of course the CD featuring an original score from the Chieftains, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor and Elvis Costello is also on sale. At least there are no Leprechauns .......yet!

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