In a deeply personal new BBC documentary film, Fermanagh actor Adrian Dunbar travels in the footsteps of Samuel Beckett, finding the places that inspired his thinking, shaped his mind and fed his imagination.

Though they never met, actor Adrian considers his fellow Irish artist, Samuel Beckett, whose formative years were spent in his native Fermanagh, a friend.

In the documentary, Adrian traces Beckett’s movements from his childhood in Dublin and the Wicklow hills to his schooldays in Enniskillen surrounded by the Fermanagh lakes and on to Paris in the 1930s where he acted as a secretary to James Joyce. Adrian knows the world and work of Beckett well and in this film he considers the formation of Beckett’s imagination in the years leading up to the writing of Waiting for Godot.

For Adrian, Beckett was far more than an austere émigré dragging himself around the streets of Paris. Rather he was engaging and funny, courteous and punctilious, a man for whom the visual arts and company of friends mattered much. He meets others who share his love of Beckett such as the Irish actors Barry McGovern and Stephen Rea who were both directed by Beckett and connected him back to Ireland, the photographer John Minihan, and Clara Simpson who regularly performs Beckett’s ‘Not I’. He also traces Beckett’s time in France before his eventual emergence as a writer including the time spent in Roussillon, the tiny village in the deep red hills, where Beckett hid from the Germans during the war and where Chagall was his neighbour. Ultimately in his personal quest in search of Beckett, Adrian reveals much of himself: what motivates him, why he was drawn to drama as a young man and what he thinks Beckett has to say to the world today.

‘Searching for Sam: Adrian Dunbar on Samuel Beckett’ airs on BBC Two Northern Ireland at 9pm on Sunday, December 22.