Gabriel Byrne’s new documentary My Astonishing Self: Gabriel Byrne on George Bernard Shaw will air on RTÉ One in Ireland on Wednesday, December 6 at 3: 35 pm.

Helpful folks at the RTÉ International Player tell me that this show will not be available for viewing outside of Ireland, so those of us unlucky enough not to live there must bide our time and see this at some future date. Drat!

Meanwhile, there is information below, including some great, but short, clips. So enjoy these little glimpses of this intriguing new Gabriel project and we shall hope for a complete viewing someday soon.

From RTÉ One:

Internationally-renowned Irish actor Gabriel Byrne explores the life, works and passions of George Bernard Shaw – a giant of world literature, and, like Byrne, an emigrant Irishman who had to leave to be heard: Shaw learnt the outsider’s ability to observe, needle and puncture…

Gabriel Byrne sees Shaw as a brave revolutionary, a literary anarchist: “My abiding sense of the man is of humanity, compassion and courage: a life spent seeking and speaking the truth, and damn the consequences”…

This documentary follows the life and influences of George Bernard Shaw, with very real revelations in very real places: from the bed he was born in to the one he died in; from his English home to his Irish heart; from his handwriting as a nobody to the words that made him famous.

“My Astonishing Self” features contributions by President Michael D. Higgins, Shaw’s biographer Sir Michael Holroyd, actors Gemma Arterton & Ralph Fiennes, historians Fintan O’Toole, Rachel Holmes & Diarmaid Ferriter, author & comedian Dara O Briain, theatre directors Josie Rourke & Nicholas Hytner, and critic Michael Billington.

The documentary is directed by Gerry Hoban, who made the award-winning and acclaimed ‘A Fanatic Heart’ – Bob Geldof’s passionate portrait of the poet WB Yeats.


So far this year, Gabriel Byrne has paid homage to two Irish titans of literature: James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw. Who might be next? Let’s wait and see, shall we?


  1. These snippets are such a tease. C’mon RTE, we want to see this documentary. Such a personal response to GBS by Gabriel Byrne.


  2. Wonderfull to watch those little videos from the documentary.
    Hope Norwegian television will buy this very interesting portrait of a great writer!

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