Charlie Byrd speaks straight into the camera, with his eyes wide open. “I remember the moment when he felt he had a serious problem,” he says. “I felt all my arms cramping and shivering. At that stage, I didn’t have a clear diagnosis of motor neurons. Then, four weeks later, I banged.”
He was feeling the effects of the condition as the hat was last October and his voice began to fade within a few weeks.And that memorable emotional look Late x 2 showWhen the broadcaster shared his pain with the country.
It covers that remarkable interview and much more. ClearlyA raw, but excellent, strangely exciting documentary. It will be screened at RTÉ on Monday night and will be available for viewing on the RTÉ player. In it, the camera chases Bird and his wife, Claire, and navigates the strange new world they landed on them.
Motor neuron disease (MND) is a rare and devastating degenerative condition that weakens muscle tone and movement and can voluntarily swallow and deprive patients of their ability to speak. Bird was one of Ireland’s most prominent news reporters, and at the age of 72 enjoyed his well-paid retirement until everything suddenly changed.
Behind the scenes at Christmas Slow slow, Bird has an emotional chat with Ryan Tubridy. “This will probably be the last studio in my life,” he tells Tubridy. “I don’t think I’m alive next Christmas.” His spirit is, of course, low. But within a few weeks, the “bird” bounced off and announced his attack on Croagh Patrick, as his wife called him.
It would be easy to take the very public approach that Charlie Byrd has taken for granted in motor neuron disease — after all, he doesn’t have to. But Bird has become a compelling voice for those who suffer from that terrifying situation, and has come to support the power of positive thinking in any situation.
But he is cruelly honest. “People tell me,’Oh Charlie, you’re so brave,’ but I honestly, I wasn’t brave in this fight.” And his real concern was, “My real concern. Life is “his two grown-up daughters and his wife. “I’m leaving this relationship because it makes me so sad.”
His greatest fear is to lose his voice, but a team of experts from Maynooth University will come to the rescue. They, led by Trevor Vaugh, explain to him that they may be able to use over 40 years of archived footage from RTÉ to give him computerized audio that sounds like himself.
Claire agrees to troll the footage to assemble an archive that will help the team. This will be a memorable trip for the couple and a whistle top tour of Bird’s biggest hit.
He talks about his Dublin childhood, and his difficult relationships with his parents, especially his father, often a sailor who was far away. “He gave me only my name.”
He remembers being afraid “I couldn’t spell” when he first arrived at RTÉ. But he calmed down and continued with a variety of high points, from reports of the IRA ceasefire to various bank scandals, the Stardust tragedy, Mary Robinson’s elections, and the marriage equality referendum campaigned by Bird.
An old colleague visits me. George Li calls him “Duracell Bunny” because he describes Bird’s tireless efforts in the NIB scandal. Tommy Gorman recalls their experience of covering trouble and calls Bird a “dog with bones.”
He discusses the ethics of journalism, the evil of the front door, and returns to his favorite place, Innis Ear, to visit his ashes-spreading windy cemetery.
And the documentary culminates in “Climb with Charlie”. This is the emotional rise of Croagh Patrick, who raised € 3 million for the Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
What emerges from this film is Claire’s vigorous troll footage, in which the Irish considered birds as one of the people, not the individuality of the elitist media.
In the archive clip, a crowd of people begins to chant his name while Bird waits for a politician to secretly appear outside the Leinster House. He was one of them, no matter what he did.