Denis Tuohy had been a broadcaster in news and current affairs for half a century when he was asked to contribute to BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought for the Day in his native Belfast. A reporter and presenter who had covered major stories around the world for BBC’s Panorama and Tonight, ITV’s This Week and ITN news was to move into uncharted territory.
This book is a collection of his Thought for the Day pieces over the past few years with a linking commentary about his professional and personal life. “Across my own wide landscape,” he says, ” I’ve been free to make unprompted choices of subject and to communicate them, in little more than a couple of minutes, to listeners in cars, kitchens, care homes, as they face up to another day.”
The choices have been prompted by his travels, by meeting famous names and by personal history. In her memoirs Margaret Thatcher described their first encounter as hostile but met him again in calmer circumstances. Richard Burton told him he could no longer watch his beloved Wales play rugby in case they might lose. Ireland’s rugby star Jack Kyle said that his moments of inspired brilliance had “somehow happened through him and he was grateful.”
He recalls a multi-faith gathering in New York after the killing of Martin Luther King, meeting an integrated Belfast singing group in apartheid South Africa, and taking part as an actor in Over the Bridge, Sam Thompson’s play about bigotry in the Belfast shipyard.
Streets and Secret Places is a mix of reflections that have featured in Thought for the Day including insights that have come with experience.