Give My Head Peace

Give My Head Peace was a satirical comedy programme, which ran for ten series on BBC Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2008. It was written by Tim McGarry, Damon Quinn and Michael McDowell, who also appeared as three of the main characters (Da, Cal and Billy).

The series writers and performers originally developed the ideas that grew into the TV series through their stage shows and a one off film, Two Ceasefires and a Wedding, screened in 1995. The film was based around the idea of “love across the barricades”, which was a common theme of many films and TV shows set during the Troubles.

The series was based round the lives and relationships of a republican and a loyalist family in Belfast, and poked fun at the sterotypes that had grown up during the Troubles. The series featured a regular cast of characters, featuring well known Northern Irish theatre and television actors, including Nuala McKeever (Emer), Martin Reid (Uncle Andy), Olivia Nash (Ma), Alexandra Ford (Dympna), BJ Hogg (Big Mervyn), Gordon Fulton (Sammy - landlord of the ‘kneebreakers’ pub) and Dan Gordon (Red Hand Luke).

After the series ended, its popularity ensured that it continues to tour as a stage show on a regular basis.

The writers, working as “The Hole in the Wall Gang”, have continued to produce a range of films and television series, including “Scapegoat”, “Brendan Smyth: Betrayal Of Trust”, “SOS – The Titanic Inquiry” and “Number 2s”.

Clip courtesy BBC Motion Gallery / Getty Images

Further Infomation


Comedy - Broadcast


BBC Northern Ireland

Release Year


Period Set




Tim McGarry
Damon Quinn
Michael McDowell


Tim McGarry - Da

Damon Quinn - Cal

Michael McDowell - Billy

Martin Reid - Uncle Andy

Nuala McKeever - Emer

Olivia Nash - Ma

Alexandra Ford - Dympna

BJ Hogg - Big Mervyn

Gordon Fulton - Sammy - landlord of Kneebreakers Pub

Dan Gordon - Red Hand Luke