Death and Nightingales, Monday 3rd December 2018, 9.35pm, RTÉ ONE
Maurice Fairbrother calls on Billy. He believes that Liam Ward is involved in the Irish-American terrorist plots against the British rule in Ireland. Fairbrother wants information and tries to force Billy’s hand with accusations of violence made by his late wife, Catherine, and fresh detail he has on Beth: that she has sought refuge in a maid servant’s bed to avoid ‘molestation’. Fairbrother doesn’t get the chance to finish his accusation before being flung out of the door.
Beth can’t leave without telling Mercy that she is going. Mercy protests, that it will break her heart, and Billy’s.
Billy calls Mercy into the dining room. When she denies having said anything about him or Beth outside the house Billy calls her a liar and orders her to leave his house for good. Beth returns home to find Mercy packing her belongings. Mercy confesses to Beth, she was the one who told her policeman friend Constable Shanley about her and Billy.
Billy, drunk, sits with Donnelly who remarks that Parnell is right, there can be no peace in Ireland as long as the British patrol their streets. This touches a nerve in Billy. What will happen if the soldiers leave? Billy wants nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church. He will defend his right to be there, his land, to the death.
Beth asks who her real father is. He tells her the truth, Catherine had no idea who Beth’s father was, ‘one of two’ men. His desperate love for Catherine and Beth is clear.
Unsteady on his feet, Billy makes his drunken way upstairs before collapsing on the bed. Can Beth carry out her plan?
Jamie Dornan (The Fall, The Siege Of Jadotville), Matthew Rhys (The Americans, The Post), and Ann Skelly (Red Rock, Kissing Candice) lead the cast of new three part drama Death And Nightingales, which is adapted and directed by Allan Cubitt (The Fall).
Based on Eugene McCabe’s modern classic, Death And Nightingales is a riveting story of love, betrayal, deception and revenge, set in the beautiful haunting countryside of Fermanagh in 1885. A place where neighbours observe each other and inform, a world of spies, confessions and double dealing; where a pervading sense of beauty is shot through with menace and impending doom.
Set over a desperately tense 24- hour period, it’s Beth Winters’ (Ann Skelly) 25th birthday – the day she has decided to join the charming Liam Ward (Jamie Dornan) and escape from her limited life and difficult and complex relationship with her Protestant landowner stepfather Billy (Matthew Rhys). As decades of pain and betrayal finally build to a devastating climax, Death and Nightingales is a powerful and gripping drama that follows a woman struggling to control her own destiny and will illuminate tensions that tear both families and nations apart.
Death And Nightingales is a three part drama series produced for the BBC in association with RTÉ.