Harry’s Game was an ITV drama about Captain Harry Brown – an SAS undercover agent – infiltrating the IRA. Harry was on a mission to find the assassin of a British Cabinet Minister in the Falls Road area of Belfast. Harry was alone: not even the army was told of his presence; his wife was fed up with him. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensued, in which many innocent lives were impacted and neither side could win. Harry befriended a local woman who fell for him, and in turn was consumed by Harry’s relentless search for the assassin. The IRA soon realised they had an informant in their midst and brought in the same assassin to hunt down Harry. The play’s ending was sad: the betrayed and by now dead Harry was lying on a dirty street as the locals just stepped over his body, ignoring it.
The series’ contained loose parallels with the real-life events of both Grenadier Guards/SAS Captain Robert Nairac, and his murder by the IRA in 1977, and the 1979 assassination of Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Airey Neave.
The series’ theme tune was performed by Clannad and was successfully released as a single, reaching the top five in both Ireland and the United Kingdom and bringing Clannad its first major international exposure.
The lyrics to the song were written to depict the story of The Troubles (Irish euphemism for a partial civil-war), among all sides in Northern Ireland, (Nationalist, Republican, Unionist and Loyalist). The lyrics, derive from an ancient Celt text, explaining how in war and in violence, no side wins – that all lose.
“I will go east and go west From whence came the moon and the sun
Fol lol the doh, fol the day
Fol the doh, fol the day
The moon and the sun will go
And the young man with his reputation behind him
I will go wherever he came from
The young man with his reputation behind him.”