Waterloo’s Warriors

2015 Tile Films/Caledonia TV Dir: Ruán Magan


I was thrilled to edit these documentaries marking the Irish and Scottish involvement in the battle of Waterloo on its 200th anniversary. There are 2 one hour docs for the international market, a 90minute feature length version for TG4 and a one hour special on the Scots for BBC Scotland. Each version was its own challenge and I think all 3 are enjoyable in different ways. Cutting the BBC doc meant I actually got to go and edit in Glasgow for a few weeks which I enjoyed immensely. I also throughly enjoyed working with the director Ruan Magan and Producer Stephen Rooke and the gang at Tile Films around the corner from me here on Baggot Street.

About the Show…
The film will reveal the stories of the Irish and Scottish men and women who lived and died at the Battle of Waterloo. It will be broadcast on 18th June 2015, the 200th anniversary of this epic battle, one of the key events in world history.

Narrated by Manchán Magan, the docudrama stars GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh as the Kerry Waterloo veteran Muiris Ó Sé, Steve Wall (‘The Walls’, ‘The Stunning’) as the Duke of Wellington, and Olwen Fouéré (‘Ballykissangel’, ‘Space Truckers’) as army wife Jenny Griffiths.

The docudrama covers events that occurred in Waterloo, Belgium on 18th June 1815. The battle for the future of Europe is underway, as Napoleon’s French army engages the Duke of Wellington’s redcoats. Amid all the noise, smoke and blood of the battlefield, it’s no surprise to hear Irish being spoken. This is because Wellington’s “British” army contained thousands of Irishmen, many of whom were native Irish speakers. There were also many Scots in the army, and together these Celtic troops played a vital role in the battle. Now, 200 years on, this feature-length docudrama uses first-hand accounts and rare Irish language documents to tell the story of Waterloo from the perspective of “Na Laochra Gael”. The docudrama is a co-production between leading Irish TV production company Tile Films and Scotland’s Caledonia TV. The two companies renew the successful co-production partnership behind the recent, highly acclaimed docudrama ‘After Braveheart’ (RTÉ / BBC, 2015).

The docudrama was produced by Stephen Rooke and Seona Robertson, directed by Ruán Magan and written by Les Wilson with Tony Deegan serving as Line Producer. It was posted at EMC Post Production in Dun Laoghaire. Sound mixing was carried out in Avatar Audio Post Production in Dublin.

Other key crew members include Ronan Fox (Lighting Cameraman), John Murphy (Editor), Killian Fitzgerald (Dubbing Mixer), Ronan Coleman (Music Composer), Ciara Walsh (Post Production Supervisor), Cillian Duffy (Online Editor), Gary Curran (Colourist), Eugene McCrystal (Visual Effects) and Thomas Fitzgerald (Graphics).

Director Ruán Magan says, “The first-hand accounts show that these men and women were unusually brave. From Lizzie McMullen’s rescue of her wounded husband, to Muiris Ó Sé’s poignant recollections, these are riveting stories and I was glad to have the opportunity to bring them to life”. Producer Stephen Rooke was similarly enthusiastic: “I was astounded to learn that there were so many Irish and Scots at Waterloo,” he says. “We knew this could be an amazing documentary, and it also gave us an opportunity to renew our very productive partnership with Caledonia TV in Scotland.”

Waterloo was the last major formal pitched battle in history, a gory spectacle with 200,000 men fighting on a couple of square miles of ground. Through gritty drama re-enactments and archive imagery, this docu-drama recreates the key moments of the battle. It also features contributions from leading historians and commentators Dr Máire Cronin, Professor Saul David, Dr Aoife Bhreathnach and Páraic Breathnach.

‘Waterloo: Na Laochra Gael’ was produced with the support of TG4, BBC Scotland, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound & Vision Funding Scheme, Flame Distribution and Section 481, Ireland’s Film Tax Corporation Credit.

2 thoughts on “Waterloo’s Warriors

  1. Pingback: The Scots at Waterloo airs tonight. | John Murphy: Editor

  2. Pingback: Reaction to ‘Scots at Waterloo’ | John Murphy: Editor

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