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29 July 2023

Airing of Sinead O’Connor documentary to go ahead just days after singer's death

29 July 2023

Sinead O’Connor documentary Nothing Compares will still be broadcast on Saturday to allow people to “hear her tell her side of the story”, the filmmaker has said.

Belfast-born director Kathryn Ferguson said the plan to air the programme, which had been scheduled to be released on Sky Documentaries and Now from July 29 for some time, was going forward after “lots of thought” following the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter’s death this week aged 56.

The 2022 documentary charts the late Irish star’s rise to worldwide fame after releasing her version of Nothing Compares 2 U, and the backlash she later faced over some of her protests.

Ferguson tweeted on Saturday: “We had been scheduled to release Nothing Compares today on Sky / Now for a very long time and after lots of thought we are going to go ahead with that plan.

“The reaction to the film and love for Sinead has been palpable and we feel screening it this weekend is the right thing to do, so that people can see her in all her glory and hear her tell her side of the story.

“An option she was rarely granted by some facets or the media who spent so much of their time being reductive of all she had to say.

“Nothing Compares is a love letter to Sinead. She meant the absolute world to me and I know she did to many of you.

“Watch the film, feel the rage, have a good cry and let’s remember the woman for her radical, magical ways and all she has done for us. I’ve never been prouder to be an Irish woman.”

The documentary explores significant moments in O’Connor’s career in the late 80s and early 90s through a “contemporary feminist lens”.

The singer rose to fame with a string of critically acclaimed albums including her 1987 debut The Lion And The Cobra and her Grammy-winning follow-up I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.

She went on to release eight more albums across the decades, with the last, I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss, released in 2014.

The Irish musician was also known for taking fierce stances on social and political issues, with one of the most notable being when she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on US sketch show Saturday Night Live in protest at the Catholic Church in 1992, and the backlash was vitriolic.

The documentary also features content from some of her music videos and concert performances, previously unseen footage and a more recent interview.

Ferguson previously told the PA news agency that she hopes the documentary will “serve as a reminder of her greatness”.

She described O’Connor as “a special, funny and magnificent human being”, adding: “Her fire lit a torch for so many of us, particularly those who grew up in the 1990s, and those who really needed her light.”

The filmmaker also said it was a “tremendous privilege” to make the programme with the singer’s blessing.

The documentary originally screened at the Sundance World Cinema Documentary Competition 2022, before it was released in cinemas last October.

It was nominated for a host of awards and won best feature documentary at the Irish Film & Television Awards.

Nothing Compares will air on Sky Documentaries at 9pm and is available on subscription service Now. It will also be shown on Sky Showcase and Sky Arts.

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