Northern Ireland news

Filming of Jean McConville drama series ends, south of England beach likely double for Cooley Peninsula

Jean McConville with three of her children shortly before she disappeared on December 7 1972

Filming has ended on a planned ten-part series on the abduction, murder and legacy of Jean McConville, a Belfast mother-of-ten whose body was found more than 30 years after she was killed.

A film crew was sighted on the Dorset coast near Weymouth in recent weeks, the latest location after shooting in Liverpool and Sheffield. 

Disney, via its FX Productions arm, plans to broadcast the drama series next year. It is based on Patrick Radden Keefe's best-selling book Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. 

Members of Mrs McConville's family have expressed some opposition to the filming, with claims those behind the production have not engaged with her children.

Helen McKendry whose mother Jean McConville was abducted, murdered and 'disappeared' by the Provisional IRA. Picture: Alan Lewis
"I am not too happy. If you are supposed to be telling a story you have to tell the truth, not what you make up as you go along," her daughter Helen McKendry previously told the Irish News.


"I don't think they should be profiting out of someone else's grief,"  Ms McKendry, while critical, did add she would support the telling of her family story if "they tell it right".

Filming of the series, planned for broadcast on Disney Plus next year, has taken place in Liverpool and Sheffield, where a housing complex appeared to double for Divis flats, where the widowed Mrs McConville lived with her children.

In Dorset, crews were seen in recent weeks on the West Bexington beach. Eyewitnesses described seeing two mounds of sand and stages in a car park. Also seen on the site a vehicle with Garda markings.

The producers have previously said there was a series being filmed that is set in the north during the Troubles but local media was only told it was titled 'Beaumont' and would follow the lives of several characters in Belfast during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The 10-part drama is based on the book Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
Mrs McConville (38) was abducted by the IRA from her Divis flats home in December 1972, shot and buried on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth. She was one of the disappeared, with her remains only recovered in 2003.


Following the 2019 publication of the book, the rights were optioned by Color Force, the production company behind The Hunger Games and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The company entered into a deal with FX Productions, an arm of Disney.

In his only public comments on a planned adaptation of the book, after the option deal was first announced four years ago, Jean McConville's son Michael said the family was "upset and disgusted" on hearing the reports.

Mr McConville said: "Using what happened to our mother for entertainment is sickening. To make money out of her murder and the pain that has been in our lives ever since is cruel and obscene."

Veteran republican Ivor Bell was acquitted of involvement in the murder of Jean McConville
In 2019, Ivor Bell was cleared of soliciting the murder of Mrs McConville in 1972, after a trial which heard a claim that Gerry Adams had recommended her secret burial.


The former Sinn Féin president rejected the allegation as he appeared as a witness at a trial of the facts into two charges against Mr Bell.


Northern Ireland news