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All eight series of the comedy drama series set in a Donegal town in the 1950s and '60s.
Ireland in the '50s, 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 '60s 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.
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: 8th June-13th July 1994 (Series 1), 18th July-8th August 1995 (Series 2), 4th-25th June 1996 (Series 3), 3rd-24nd December 1997 (Series 4), 15th June-20th July 1998 (Series 5), 18th June-23rd July 1999 (Series 6), 25th November 2009-6th January 2010 (Series 7), 26th January-2nd 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.
"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)
What listeners say about Ballylenon: The Complete Series 1-8Average Customer Ratings
Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.
- Kathy Oldfield
I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this series. Good story lines and great characters. One of the pleasantest audible series I have listened to!
6 people found this helpful
- Mary Carnegie
Gentle humour from the other end of the ferry
Co Donegal 1953-60. Before the most recent Troubles and when I was a wee girl. More happens in this fictional wee town than you’d suspect. None of it is nasty but I got hooked on the intrigues and gossip. Two sisters run the shop/post office/telephone exchange so they’re an intelligence service in themselves, allied with the hotel owner, who’s always got a scheme in mind. The Protestant primary school teacher, later the minister’s wife, has different ideas about how the town should develop. Almost everyone is up to something- the minister and the policeman alone are innocents. I like the language, not so different from Ayrshire then. There is an issue about continuity occas
6 people found this helpful
Made me laugh
So well written, human nature to a T! Made me laugh a lot just a shame you don’t find out what happens between the sisters & their men left on a bit of a hanger I assume another series was planned but didn’t actually happen - such a shame!
5 people found this helpful
I have listened to this all through several times and never tire of the machinations in the village and the clever tricks of the McConkey sisters who always come out on top. It is gently funny, has an interesting range of characters and pokes fun at both sides of the religious divide. There is the odd little irritation such as the awful American accents to which we are treated during the Hoover birthplace episodes, but I found it forgivable in the context of this modest and unassuming series. I missed it when it was current on the radio but am so glad to have caught up with it now.
4 people found this helpful
- Jeffrey Rudd
Funny, entertaining and often accurate.
As an Irish person, I found this show entertaining. Compared to more modern stuff, this show is mild, interesting, somewhat accurate in regards to gossips (not just in Ireland) and some local political antics (I am a party founder in Ireland). A harmless show that shows we can all laugh at ourselves and still enjoy it.
Later voice changes threw me off a bit till I got used to the new ones but the material itself, was still good. Wish there was more of this theme, village life.
3 people found this helpful
- Celia 22
Odd ending - presumably not planned by the writer.
Everyone seems to have something to hide including the two sisters who know everyone’s business.
Characters are well written especially the sisters and the over bearing school teacher.
Pity some of the cast changes halfway thru and it all ends so abruptly- series 9 scrapped?
Well worth a credit.
3 people found this helpful
Charmless and offensive
if I can return this I will. Racist slurs throughout. No place for this in my library.