At every stage of my life, my underwear drawer has always contained one pair of pants I’ve singled out as special, to be worn on big occasions when I’ve felt in need of a helping hand from fate. Perhaps I should also make clear that there has never been anything outwardly remarkable about the pair in question. My current lucky pants, if this is not too much information, are standard cotton boxer shorts from Marks & Sparks, with a discreet tartan design, writes TOM UTLEY.
Gunpowder is a clear attempt to glamorise and elicit sympathy for the plotters, who are presented as victims of horrendous religious persecution by a brutal, sadistic state. Making its purpose all the more sinister, the script is written by Ronan Bennett, a Northern Irish Catholic with strong Republican sympathies, whose cv includes a conviction — later declared unsafe — for murdering an officer of the Royal Ulster Constabulary when he was 18. In 1978 he was also arrested for conspiracy to cause explosions, spending 16 months in prison on remand before being cleared after conducting his own defence, writes TOM UTLEY. Whatever possessed the BBC to commission a drama written by such a man as this, about an episode absolutely central to the collective memory of our nation?