A valuable new BBC series on the influence of Ulster folk down under

Morning View

On BBC Two tomorrow night, William Crawley presents a TV documentary from Australia.

The broadcaster, best known as host of the radio show Talkback, is fronting a series on Ulster folk who left an imprint down under.

The influence of Scots Irish settlers in the new world has not had the historic prominence it deserves at home.

This is perhaps because early immigrants into those societies, that became some of the most advanced nations on earth (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States), identified so heavily with the communities they were building that they shed some of their past identity.

We tend not to hear now of English Americans today, for example, in the way that we hear of Italian Americans or Irish Americans, even though the English and Germans were the most populous groups in the area that became the United States, whereas some other immigrant groups arrived much later than them, in the late 1800s.

Ulster people had also made the journey earlier, from the early 1700s. The News Letter, which just turned 280, was launched as departures for abroad were becoming a major population movement, reported by the paper.

This welcome BBC series has had financial support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster Scots Broadcast fund.

Alongside the Irish language and its history, it is part of our heritage and is deserving of public backing. It is culture without controversy or compulsion.

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