Northern Ireland

Talkback at 30: BBC News NI delves into the archives

The late David Dunseith presented Talkback for 20 out of its 30 years,
Image caption The late David Dunseith presented Talkback for 20 out of its 30 years

BBC Radio Ulster is celebrating a big birthday - its longest-running phone-in programme, Talkback, is 30 years old.

Since first going on air on 8 September 1986, it has been at the heart of the daily debate in Northern Ireland, covering local and international news.

The award-winning show is best known for providing a platform for the public to voice their views on breaking stories and the hot topics of the day.

To mark the milestone, BBC News NI has been delving into Talkback's archives.

We dug out clips from classic interviews with some of Northern Ireland's most famous faces, including the late George Best.

Best never boring

The former footballer was experiencing something of a morning after the night before when he spoke to Talkback in 1990.

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Media captionBBC News NI replays some of the memorable moments from Talkback's 30 year history

At the time, Best was in the centre of a media storm after his infamous appearance on the Wogan Show, when it was reported that he was drunk on live TV.

"The one thing they can never, ever say - my life's been boring," Best told Talkback presenter David Dunseith.

"I'd rather have been the way I was, than had 44 years of boredom."

The late David Dunseith presented Talkback for 20 out of its 30 years, hosting the show from 1989 until 2009.

His tenure included covering the some of the worst days of Northern Ireland's Troubles and the painful birth of the peace process.

'End violence and killing'

In 1993, then SDLP leader John Hume spoke to Talkback about his controversial decision to start political talks with Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

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Media captionBBC News NI replays some of the memorable moments from Talkback's 30 year history

Hume, who later won a Nobel peace prize, told the programme he wanted "to do everything in my power to bring that violence and killing to an end".

Over the years, the programme has been hosted by four regular presenters - starting with Dunseith's predecessor, the late Barry Cowan.

Wendy Austin took over in 2009 and in November 2014, she passed the microphone on to Talkback's current presenter, William Crawley.

He is hosting a special two-hour programme on Thursday and is being joined by special guests and more than 100 Talkback fans.

While William and the team are partying like it's 1986, we've set up a few 'Talkback teasers' for loyal listeners to test their knowledge of the show.

The budget has been busted, so no prizes - just for fun - you can also take our big Talkback birthday quiz below.

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Media captionHow well do you know BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme?
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHow well do you know BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme?
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Media captionHow well do you know BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme?

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