BBC Radio 4, 9 March 2012
Danny (Simon Delaney) has not seen his brother Jimmy (Michael McElhatton)
for twenty years. Out of the blue Jimmy calls one night and asks for a meeting at the local pub: Danny agrees, even if he
has slight misgivings.
The phone call prompts Danny to reflect on his past, when the two brothers were inseparable.
Young Danny (Adam Brown) was a year younger than Jimmy (Scott Graham), and always suffered from Jimmy bullying him. In
their teenage years the two of them (now played by Sam Keeley and Donal Gallery) came to blows over a girl; this
is what prompted Jimmy to leave the family home in Dublin and emigrate to England.
When the brothers meet once more, their reactions are uncertain: while their
dialogue is punctuated with enthusiastic expressions ("good to see you," "you all right?," life is "great" or "grand"), there
are also frequent pauses, as if they do not quite know what to say to one another. After two decades, how can they begin
to talk about their lives? As the evening wears on, the two brothers overcome their embarrassment - due in no small part to
Jimmy (now known as Jim) telling a white lie. They bicker about the past and get drunk together.
Roddy Doyle's story concentrates on the power of the past and how it influences the
present. Emotionally speaking, the two brothers are still incredibly close, even if they have not seen one another for two
decades. Simon Delaney's Danny and Michael McElhatton's Jim offered an interesting vocal contrast: Danny delivered
his lines in calm, unhurried tones, while Jim sounded perpetually aggressive, as if trying to control his bad temper.
At the end, however, the two of them overcame their differences and sang one of their favourite songs from the past.
They were clearly enjoying the moment. The director of this Afternoon Drama was Gemma McMullan.