Family (1994 TV series)

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Created byRoddy Doyle
Directed byMichael Winterbottom
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes4
ProducerAndrew Eaton
Running time45 minutes
Original networkBBC1/RTÉ One
Picture format4:3
Audio formatStereo
Original release8 May (1994-05-08) –
29 May 1994 (1994-05-29)

Family is a television drama mini-series that aired on RTÉ One and BBC1 in 1994. It was written by Roddy Doyle, the author of The Commitments, and directed by Michael Winterbottom.[1][2]


The show centres on the Spencers, a working-class family living in a vast Dublin housing estate.[2] Charlo, played by Seán McGinley, is the abusive and cheating husband of Paula, played by Ger Ryan. They have four children, teenagers John Paul and Nicola, and younger children Leanne and Jack.[1]

There were four episodes,[2] each focusing on a member of the family. Most of the 'on location' filming took place in Ballymun, on the Northside of Dublin.[3]


The first episode focuses on Charlo, a small-time crook who is also an alcoholic, abusive father and husband.[4]

John Paul

The second episode focuses on the rebellious teenage son. Named after Pope John Paul II due to his 1979 visit to Ireland, John Paul has just started secondary school.[4]


The third episode focuses on Nicola, in her late teens, who works in a clothing factory and has a strained relationship with her father, particularly in relation to her burgeoning sexuality.[4]


The final episode focuses on Paula, the emotionally and physically battered mother, who attempts to reclaim her identity and her life without her husband.[4]


The series was broadcast in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ One. It aired in the United Kingdom on BBC1.[1][5] The series was a co-production by both public broadcasters RTÉ Television and BBC.[1][2] The series also aired in Sweden, as well as Canada.[citation needed]

Video release[edit]

The series was released on video for the first time ever on 27 June 2011 as a 2-disc DVD set in the UK & Ireland. Edits were made for contractual reasons. The release included a thirty-minute contemporary interview with director Michael Winterbottom, writer Roddy Doyle and producer Andrew Eaton.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Linehan, Hugh (18 May 2019). "Roddy Doyle's Family stands up as a classic 25 years later". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "All of Roddy Doyle's excellent series 'Family' is now on YouTube". The Daily Edge. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Coulouma, Flore, ed. (2016). New Perspectives on Irish TV Series – Identity and Nostalgia on the Small Screen. Sylvie Mikowski (writer). Peter Lang. doi:10.3726/978-3-0353-0828-0. ISBN 978-3-0353-9566-2.
  4. ^ a b c d "Family". BBC. Retrieved 6 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Roddy Doyle received death threats over TV drama Family". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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