RTÉ announces a brand new slate of first rate home-produced comedy, drama, documentary and lifestyle programming as it launches its autumn and new year schedule today.
Some of Ireland’s best known faces joined RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes in Montrose today to celebrate the launch of the new schedule.
This new season of programmes on RTÉ One, RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player is a strong demonstration of RTÉ’s commitment to Irish public life and our island’s unique and merging cultures. Today, we have launched a collection of new home-produced drama, comedy, arts, entertainment, documentary and lifestyle programming that showcases an ever-broadening range of perspectives, with new voices, new faces and new themes. From the violent birth of our nation, captured in both drama and documentary, to the modern day heroes of the Rotunda Hospital – and sprinkled through with high-octane entertainment and sport – this new season explores all sides of Irish life, past and present. This blend of in-house and commissioned programming is a statement of intent; as the back-bone of the industry, RTÉ has to, wants to and needs to invest in Ireland’s audio-visual creative industry. RTÉ wants to do more, and the new season sees us take decisive steps in this direction.
Dee Forbes, Director-General – RTÉ
There is something for everyone in this year’s new RTÉ programming. Taking centre stage is an impressive range of new world class dramas and comedies, including Finding Joy and Taken Down. This season also boasts compelling new factual documentaries and series, which capture the real life drama of our viewers. We serve entertainment to family audiences like no other Irish broadcaster, with returning hits Dancing with the Stars and a turbo-charged Ireland’s Fittest Families, not to mention everyone’s favourite, The Late Late Toy Show. RTÉ promises to be with the nation for the big events, whether it’s the Pope’s visit, the commemoration of the War of Independence or on the field at Croke Park on All-Ireland final day.
Jim Jennings, Director of Content – RTÉ
Our audience is at the heart of what we do in RTÉ across all our platforms. In this new slate, featuring approximately 60 new series across multiple genres, our ambition is to serve our audience’s appetite for compelling content across RTÉ One, RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player. It is a real statement about the quality and ambition of the Irish creative industries. We know that Irish audiences respond to home-grown content and RTÉ is uniquely placed to serve that appetite.
Adrian Lynch, Director of Audience, Channels and Marketing – RTÉ
Revealing Life’s Dramas
RTÉ is serving the Irish audience’s desire to see their stories on the screen with home-produced drama and innovative partnerships on productions with an Irish connection. Home productions include:
- Taken Down – A detective investigates the violent death of a young Nigerian immigrant found abandoned close to a Direct Provision Centre. From the team behind Love/Hate including writer Stuart Carolan plus best-selling novelist Jo Spain and starring Aissa Maiga, Lynn Rafferty, Orla Fitzgerald and Brian Gleeson.
- Resistance – Continuing the story of Ireland’s violent birth. The War of Independence rages on and everyone is fighting for their lives, and for the future. Starring Brian Gleeson, Simone Kirby and Natasha O’Keeffe.
- Fair City – Ireland’s most watched soap continues with Kerri-Ann caught off guard as her lies are exposed, and a familiar face returns with the intention of seeking revenge. This season, Fair City gets a HD makeover and the Carrigstown residents move to a brand new set.
Recognising the increasingly collaborative nature of 21st century television production, RTÉ is partnering with international broadcasters to deliver high quality productions on a global scale including:
- Death and Nightingales – The story of one young woman’s struggle to control her own destiny in Northern Ireland in the 1880s. A BBC production in association with RTÉ and starring Ann Skelly, Matthew Rhys and Jamie Dornan.
- Mother’s Day – The story of two mothers on either side of the Irish Sea for whom the Warrington Bombing had a profound, life-changing impact. Starring Vicky McClure, Anna Maxwell Martin, Daniel Mays and David Wilmot. A BBC production in association with RTÉ.
- Doing Money – The true story of Ana, snatched from the streets of London and put into sex slavery in Ireland. Stars Karen Hassan (The Fall) and Alex Secareanu (God’s Own Country). A BBC production in association with RTÉ.
In addition, RTÉ will broadcast the best of international drama with highlights including European ‘see it firsts’ of the second series of Mr Mercedes starring Brendan Gleeson and hit new series Killing Eve starring Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, Fiona Shaw and Owen McDonnell; as well as the sixth season of the ever popular local production Vikings.
World Class Irish Comedy
RTÉ is wholly committed to supporting the indigenous television industry, fostering and developing talent with new and returning comedy series.
- Finding Joy – Written by and starring Amy Huberman as Joy, a woman who finds herself thrust into the limelight as she tries to get over a break-up. Also starring Aisling Bea, Laura Whitmore and Jennifer Rainsford.
- Women on the Verge – Darkly comic tale about three friends whose lives are going in the wrong direction. Written by Sharon Horgan and Lorna Martin and starring Horgan, Kerry Condon, Eileen Walsh and Nina Sosanya. Co-produced by UKTV and RTÉ.
- Podge and Rodge – Ballydung Manor is flinging open its doors again for celebrity roasting and scorching music acts. New co-host Doireann Garrihy joins the lads this year and may not know quite what she’s letting herself in for….
- Bridget & Eamon – Jennifer Zamparelli and Bernard O’Shea return for a fourth series of the comedy that has proved a hit with Irish and UK audiences.
Following the huge success of The Young Offenders series earlier this year, viewers can expect more from Conor and Jock.
Celebrating Our Rich Culture
Celebrating the breadth and diversity of Irish identity is a core part of RTÉ’s remit, both at home and abroad.
Now in its 57th year The Late Late Show will travel to London for a very special live programme celebrating the unique relationship between the Irish and our nearest neighbour. In his tenth year as Late Late host, Ryan Tubridy will be meeting the Irish who have made an impact across the water and talking to people in all walks of life about what it is like for the Irish in Britain today. Ambitious plans are also afoot for that most uniquely Irish of programmes, The Late Late Toy Show.
- Who Do You Think You Are? – Bertie Ahern, Laura Whitmore, Damien Dempsey, Adrian Dunbar, Pat Shortt and Samantha Power explore their roots in a new six-part series.
- Brendan O’Carroll’s Britain (Working Title) – The Mrs Brown’s Boys star explores the historic, sometimes turbulent bonds, between Ireland and Britain, the influence of the Irish on Britain and how Brexit is affecting their identity.
- Citizen Lane – Feature length docudrama written by Mark O’Halloran and starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as Sir Hugh Lane, one of Ireland’s greatest philanthropists.
- Blue Diamond – One Love – Following a group of drama students with intellectual disabilities as they form their own touring stage company.
- Cosáin Cheol – Documentary exploring the modernisation of traditional music on the Irish and Scottish scenes over the past 60 years.
- Street Art – Examining the explosion of urban art throughout Ireland, meeting some of the most engaging, vibrant and visible artists and cultural commentators in the country right now.
- Great Lighthouses of Ireland – Captains, weather forecasters, scientists and historians and most crucially the keepers, attendants and their families tell the tales of these bastions of the Irish coastline.
- Shooting the Darkness – A film about the men who unwittingly became war photographers when the streets of their own town in Northern Ireland became battlefields in The Troubles.
- Féile – An Turas go Tipp! – Irish language documentary celebrating the early 90s music festival that holds a special place in the hearts of a generation of Irish people.
Continuing to bring positive stories from all around Ireland and Irish life, RTÉ Nationwide celebrates 25 years broadcasting.
Entertaining the Nation
Home of the biggest entertainment shows on Irish television, RTÉ brings families together for big event programming including Dancing with the Stars, returning for a third season with a brand new set of celebs tripping the light fantastic.
Viewers saw their bromance blossom on the recent series of Dancing with the Stars and now Marty Morrissey and Bernard O’Shea are taking to the road in Marty and Bernard’s Road Trip (Working Title).
Ireland’s Fittest Family is bigger than ever with daring new challenges designed by the world renowned ATS Team (The Amazing Race, American Ninja Warrior). New presenter Kathryn Thomas joins coaches Anna Geary, Davy Fitzgerald, Donncha O’Callaghan and Derval O’Rourke.
Brendan O’Connor launches a new interview show – Brendan O’Connor’s Time Out – and Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge returns later this year. Tommy Tiernan is back with another series of the hit chatshow, The Tommy Tiernan Show, where he hasn’t a clue who he is going to be talking to. Saturday night entertainment will be on the agenda for new series of The Ray D’Arcy Show and All Round to Mrs Brown’s.
Younger RTÉ2 viewers can look forward to a new series of Bernard Dunne’s Mythical Heroes and new series Mini Moguls, currently in production, and Drop Dead Weird has been commissioned for a second series. A full line-up of programming for RTÉJr will be revealed later this year.
Across all genres, programming on RTÉ One and RTÉ2 will tackle all aspects of Irish life, from the very beginning with fly on the wall doc on the maternity wards of The Rotunda, through how the property market affects us all in Our Lives in Property: Oxmantown Road to how Ireland treats its elderly in Brendan Courtney’s We Need to Talk About Mam.
Other highlights include:
- Orla Tinsley – Documentary following Irish campaigner and journalist Orla Tinsley as she awaits a life saving double lung transplant in the US.
- Philly McMahon – The Hardest Hit – Drawing from personal experience the Dublin footballer explores the underbelly of illicit drug use in Ireland and makes the case for decriminalisation in Ireland.
- Whistleblower – Following publication of the report of the Disclosures Tribunal, Katie Hannon will present an in-depth documentary on the events leading up to the establishment of this unprecedented public inquiry and the inside story of the Tribunal itself.
- Vogue – Vogue Williams is back with three new shows exploring the life of Instagrammers, trial by social media and whether monogamy has a future.
- Dearbhail McDonald: Fertility Shock – Exploring how Irish people are leaving it later to have babies and how fewer children combined with an ageing population is a demographic time-bomb.
- Stephen Byrne – Leaving Again (Working Title) – Broadcaster Stephen Byrne destroyed his Leaving Cert results before finding out how he did. Now he’s doing the unthinkable and sitting the exam all over again.
- Brendan Grace – Funny Man – Revealing portrait celebrating the life and career of one of Ireland’s most popular and enduring comedians.
- Growing Old Live (Working Title) – Ireland’s top researchers and scientists reveal the mysteries of the human life span from 0 to 100, live in front of a studio audience over three nights.
Viewers will also be getting an insight into how the other half lives. Drogheda actress Yasmine Akram test drives some of the most lavish Air BnBs on the planet in Billionaire BnBs and Dermot Bannon visits some of the world’s most jaw dropping homes from London to Australia in Dermot Bannon’s Homes. The hugely successful Ireland’s Rich List, presented by Joe O’Shea, returns for a new series.
On the flip side, financial planning series How to Be Good With Money sees Eoin McGee help households, some struggling, others less so, to get a grip on their finances. And Brendan Courtney returns with a second series of This Crowded House, following 12 Irish families as their adult children try to fly the coop during a property crisis.
Dr Eva Orsmond returns with Dr Eva’s Great Escape, a searingly honest documentary series following the obesity expert and her family as they leave the rat race behind to set up a brand new weight loss clinic in Portugal. And Baz Ashmawy helps dreams come true in his own inimitable style on brand new three-part series Wingman.
And Daniel and Majella O’Donnell are off to America for a road trip taking them from Chicago to North Dakota in Daniel and Majella’s USA Road Trip.
RTÉ is the nation’s go to broadcaster for coverage of major national events on an unrivalled scale and this year will see extensive live coverage of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Ireland and documentaries including The John Pauls, a documentary following the 38-year-olds named after the last Pope to visit Ireland and how Ireland has changed over their lifetime.
As the country marks the 100th anniversary of the War of Independence, a series of RTÉ programmes will confront the nation’s turbulent birth. The War of Independence season includes:
- The Irish Revolution – a three-part landmark documentary bringing a fresh perspective on a period that changed Ireland forever. Narrated by Cillian Murphy.
- Life Before Independence – presented by Catriona Crowe, documents what everyday life was like for the ordinary citizens living during that extraordinary period in our history.
- Keepers of the Flame – Emmy winner Nuala O’Connor tells the story of generations dealing with the consequences of war and civil war.
In a special event, Election 1918 presented by David McCullough, re-enacts how Ireland’s only 32-county election and its momentous results would have been covered by modern television. Ar Son na Poblachta continues its illuminating look back at Irish history, by examining little-known stories from the War of Independence.
This season will see the unveiling of a brand new look for RTÉ News as its studio under goes a major refurbishment and technical upgrade. Broadcasting over 1,000 news bulletins each year, this will be the first refurbishment of the studio in ten years, with the brand new look being launched on-air in early 2019. This autumn also sees the return of Prime Time and Claire Byrne Live with more live studio debate, more revelations uncovered by RTÉ Investigates and The Big Picture looks set to shine a light on another key societal issue across RTÉ platforms. As the country looks ahead to a likely presidential election and referendums, the Budget, and the marking the centenary of the end of the first World War, RTÉ News & Current Affairs will deliver unrivalled comprehensive coverage. Early 2019 will also see programming marking the centenary the first Dáil and the outbreak of the War of Independence.
Carrying on from an unprecedented summer of sport in 2018 RTÉ Sport will continue to bring Irish audiences the big games, big moments and big stories in Irish sport beginning with the All Ireland Finals in Hurling, Football and Camogie. On All-Ireland Hurling Final day, The Dressing Room on Sunday Sport will air on RTÉ Player and RTÉ News Now with Jacqui Hurley and Darren Frehill joined by a panel for a very different type of discussion around this year’s match.
Ground-breaking films and documentaries this season include 1982: Prayers of the Faithful the story of the most un-fancied team to ever win an All-Ireland football title as Offaly beat a Kerry team considered to be the greatest in GAA history.
Ireland’s Greatest Sportsperson will see the search for Ireland’s greatest sportsperson from the 1960s to the 2000s with Des Cahill and Evanne Ní Chuilinn and Darragh Maloney will once again celebrate the heroes of Irish sport at The RTÉ Sport Awards.
- Guinness Series – Irish men’s Rugby team take on Argentina, New Zealand and the USA at the Aviva Stadium in November
- Women’s 6 Nations, begins February
- The All-Ireland Hurling Final, August 19
- The All-Ireland Camogie Final, August 26
- The All-Ireland Football Final, September 2
- The Republic of Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers from March 2019
- UEFA Champions League Live moves to Tuesday nights
- FAI Cup Finals Day, November 4
- World Rowing Championships from Bulgaria (9 – 16 September)
- Christmas Racing from Leopardstown (26- 29 December)