18 Aug 2022

Channel 4 to make film about life and death of journalist Lyra McKee

Channel 4 to make film about life and death of journalist Lyra McKee

Channel 4 has announced a film about the life and death of “trailblazing” investigative journalist Lyra McKee – who was shot dead in 2019.

Ms McKee, 29, was murdered while observing riots in the Creggan area of Derry on April 18, with an extremist group styling itself as the New IRA previously claiming responsibility.

The intimate film, titled Lyra, has been made by Bafta-award winning documentarian and close friend Alison Millar – who salvaged voice recordings from Lyra’s Dictaphone so she could narrate her own story.

The film will see Lyra growing up in 90s Belfast, using text messages and home video footage as well as intimate access to her mother, sister and partner to capture their grief and quest for justice in the days and months following Lyra’s death.

Director Ms Millar said: “Lyra’s death was, to many, a sharp puncture to the future of a country trying to move beyond its past.

“I hope this documentary will introduce a new audience to Lyra and her work.

“The film is an urgent story that reflects life today in contemporary Northern Ireland as we approach the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

“Lyra’s story and work represents her generation and reminds us why we cannot allow the dark shadows of the past to return.” 

Louisa Compton, head of news and current affairs and specialist factual and sport for Channel 4, said the broadcaster is “proud” to have commissioned this “poignant and thoughtful film”.

“Lyra McKee was a trailblazer in so many ways and we hope this film will demonstrate how important her work was and continues to be,” she added.

Siobhan Sinnerton, executive producer for HiddenLight and previously commissioning editor for Channel 4, said Lyra’s work and stories “tell us about why peace in Northern Ireland matters to us all”. 

She said: “As a Belfast native, I have always been cautious about making films about ‘The Troubles’.

“But when brilliant Northern Irish director Ali Millar decided that she wanted to make a film about the life and loss of her friend and mentee Lyra McKee I knew it was going to be very special. And it is.”

Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen, added: “This powerful documentary about Lyra McKee is a special and unique portrayal of the life and passing of the journalist.

“The film amplifies Lyra’s renowned investigative work and seeks answers over her untimely death.

“We were honoured to support Alison Millar at Erica Starling Productions to produce this emotional documentary sharing Lyra’s voice and message.”

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