New documentary tells the touching story of legendary Irish DJ Vincent Hanley

A brand new documentary will air on RTÉ One next Monday with personal accounts and memories of DJ Vincent Hanley.

A new documentary is to air about the life of Vincent Hanley. The photograph features Vincent wearing a bright yellow jacket with a red jumper in front a New York skyline.
Image: @HanleyFergus

Vincent Hanley became one of Ireland’s most loved DJs in 1979 when he joined the daily line-up on the newly commissioned RTÉ Radio Two (now known as RTÉ 2FM). Following a brief spell in London, he moved to the US and became the face of RTÉ’s MT-USA from 1984 until his untimely death from AIDS-related illnesses in 1987.
A brand new documentary, Vincent Hanley: Sex, Lies and Videotapes, will air on RTÉ One next Monday, February 21. Produced and authored by LGBTQ+ rights activist Bill Hughes, the programme will explore the story of his friendship with the DJ and fondly remembers his friend’s life and legacy.


Through personal accounts, the documentary will show how ‘Fab Vinnie’ projected joy and colour into what could often be a bleak and drab grey 1980s Ireland as he broadcast the cosmopolitan world of New York into Irish houses for three hours every Sunday morning.

Bill talks to LGBTQ+ activist Cathal Kerrigan and journalist Una Mullaly to get a sense of what Ireland’s LGBTQ+ landscape looked like at the time and why, for all his exuberance and vivaciousness, the star was never able to come out publicly. Especially in light of the brutal murder of his friend and housemate, Charles Self and the resulting Gardai investigation in 1982, which intimidated many of Dublin’s LGBTQ+ community into emigrating.

Marking the upcoming 35th anniversary of Vincent’s death on April 18, 1987, the documentary will also reflect on the impact of the devastating AIDS crisis and how it affected the landscape of Ireland’s gay community.

Bill also talks to another of Vincent’s friends Terry O’Sullivan to discuss how the disease affected the legendary star’s appearance but how he refused to admit it for fear of jeopardising his career. Bill also meets with Professor Fiona Mulcahy, founder of St James’s GUIDE clinic, where she cared for him in his final days. 

This very intimate and sometimes emotional portrayal is a poignant dedication to the life and legacy of Vincent and is definitely one not to be missed. 

The documentary Vincent Hanley: Sex, Lies and Videotapes airs on RTÉOne on Monday, February 21 at 9.35 pm.

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