Entertainment Sir Kenneth Branagh loved returning home for Belfast
From Bloodlands to Belfast: How 2021 became a success story for Northern Ireland on film and TV
It was another successful year for NI on the screen - here's a look back at 2021's highlights, and a look ahead to what's in store for the New YearThe group has hailed the fact that Northern Ireland managed to attract major US studios - including Netflix - to film here, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Sir Kenneth Branagh "embraced" the chance to return to his childhood in 'Belfast'.
The 61-year-old star has written and directed the new autobiographical movie and described his family's decision to leave his native Northern Ireland to escape the Troubles as the "defining" moment of his life.
Kenneth told the I newspaper: "It was a defining moment in my life, and it became clear to me, that was the last point at which I happily knew who I was. Since then it feels as though a series of masks and disguises have been worn.
"In a way, the writing of 'Belfast' and the making of it was really just taking off these masks and saying: 'You may think of me as a Shakespearean actor or a bumptious over-achiever' – if you think about me at all, but for what it's worth, I happily embrace the fact that this is a defining part of who I am, and that finding that way to go back home again was important."
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021: Full celebrity line-up, songs and dances revealed
This year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will see six celebrities strut their stuff to impress the judges.The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will see six celebrities show off their festive moves in the ballroom.
Kenneth admits that he felt it was "necessary" to revisit his childhood in the movie – which stars Dame Judi Dench and Jamie Dornan – as his family have been reluctant to talk about it.
The 'Murder on the Orient Express' filmmaker said: "I didn't set out for it to be sort of public therapy, but I felt that it was necessary to write. Nobody in the family had spoken about these difficult times, even though I wrote about it then. Family never spoke about what riots were like or, the wrench of leaving.
"They believed you had to own the decision and not look back. Indulging in your personal sorrows was not something they thought was right and proper."
Empire Podcast #498: Guillermo Del Toro, Jamie Dornan .
2022 is only a few weeks old, but this week alone sees the release of two films that are almost certain to be up there come year's end: Guillermo del Toro's atmospheric noir, Nightmare Alley, and Kenneth Branagh's wonderfully warm childhood tale, Belfast. And we're delighted to be joined on this week's episode by del Toro, who chats with Chris Hewitt about doom, black-and-white, and Bradley Cooper's eyes; and Belfast star Jamie Dornan, who goes full Norn Iron with Helen O'Hara. Who, despite her protestations to the contrary, does thicken her accent for that interview, so she does.