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Category: Behind the Scenes

TV REVIEW: HOME ADVANTAGE  (RTE ONE)

FOR RTÉ viewers, the pandemic has pushed the tolerance threshold to a new level, with the national broadcaster apparently curious to see just how much audiences can take before throwing in the towel. For viewers wobbly on their feet and reeling from a barrage of blows, the arrival of a new Saturday night light entertainment... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: REELING IN THE YEARS (RTÉ ONE)

IN TERMS of rarity, Reeling In The Years is a phenomenon roughly equivalent to the asteroid crash that wiped out the dinosaurs: an original RTÉ show that enjoys both critical acclaim and audience popularity. While the programme’s aim is to capture a flavour of bygone years, before a frame is even shown, the new series provides a... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: PRIME TIME (RTÉ ONE)

Miriam O’Callaghan

AS THE Champions League quarter-finals kicked off this week, there was also significant action in TV’s lower tiers. After David McCullagh’s departure for the Six-One News last year, Prime Time finally unveiled its much-hyped new squad. In recent times, RTÉ’s flagship current affairs show has been doing a passable impression of Sheffield Utd, rooted to the bottom of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: IARNRÓD ENDA (RTE ONE)

WHATEVER THE Irish for ‘anorak’ may be, it’s clear (when it comes to the railways) that former Taoiseach Enda Kenny is not a natural one. In a brief Late Late Show appearance last weekend, ostensibly to promote his new RTÉ ONE television show — Iarnród Enda – cursory attention was paid to the series in... Read more »

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THE IFTAS’ ROYAL COMPETITION

JUST WHEN you thought the ‘awards season’ couldn’t get any longer, along comes the inaugural RTS Ireland Television Awards, “recognising excellence in Irish television production and Irish-international co-productions”. It is to be broadcast on Virgin Media One on Tuesday, with Muireann O’Connell fronting.  RTS stands for, er, Royal Television Society – a UK charity that “promotes... Read more »

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SARAH MCINERNEY’S PRIME SLOT

Sarah McInerney

WHILE RTÉ has rolled out the red carpet for the new presenters of Prime Time, there has been no mention of Louise Byrne and Mark Coughlan, who had been co-presenting the show for the past eight months. Byrne and Coughlan stood in as presenters to cover Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullagh’s breaks last August, and... Read more »

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PENNEYS FOR LAURA’S THOUGHTS

Laura Whitmore

PRIMARK WILL undoubtedly be hoping that its new 12-month collaboration with Laura Whitmore will appease the sustainability brigade. Although if the initial reaction to her new role is anything to go by, there is quite a way to go before that happens. Accusations of “greenwashing” were levelled at the fashion brand when Whitmore announced that... Read more »

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REVIEW: CREEDON’S ATLAS OF IRELAND (RTÉ ONE)

JOHN CREEDON’S latest jaunt around the country remains firmly on the path well trodden down a string of Sunday night offerings on RTÉ One. The second season of Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland picks up where the first left off, itself a minor tweak of Creedon’s Retro Road Trip, Creedon’s Road Less Travelled, Creedon’s Wild Atlantic... Read more »

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BALLINACURRA’S BALANCE SHEET

THOSE WITH a cool €6.35m to spare may be interested in purchasing Ballinacurra House in Kinsale from Des and Lisa McGahan, having seen it profiled in the Irish Times. The Georgian estate dates back to 1770, and it rents out to the glitterati for approximately €40,000 per week. It has hosted King Willem-Alexander of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: TODAY ST PATRICK’S DAY SPECIAL (RTE ONE)

AS IF the past year hasn’t been sufficiently dystopian, hapless RTE viewers have had to endure an avalanche of light entertainment “content” (ie fillers) from the national broadcaster. Apparently assembled by a Montrose programming algorithm, the Today St. Patrick’s Day Special may well represent the nadir of this unwelcome trend. As ever, Dáithí Ó Sé’s... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: SMOTHER (RTE ONE)

KATE O’RIORDAN’S Smother, which RTE has described as a “domestic noir” six-part series, kicked off in RTE’s Sunday night slot for what is considered, somewhat erroneously, as the principal hour for “home-produced” drama. “Home produced” covers a multitude of foreign backers and money brokers these days. Filmed in west Clare during the pandemic, and directed by... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: GOODBYE HOUSE (RTE ONE)

WHILST THE country may be in the midst of a housing crisis, independent production companies can always find a home for their property show pitches on RTE. The Montrose obsession with the genre knows bounds: now in its second series, Goodbye House is preceded on Thursday nights by Channel 4 buy-in Grand Designs, while similarly themed shows in... Read more »

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LATE LATE SHOW MISERYFEST

Ryan Tubridy

Given that RTÉ has a history of ignoring its licence-payers’ wishes, it comes as no surprise that The Late Late Show consistently chooses to eschew taking its viewers’ feedback on board. High-profile viewers like media personality Maia Dunphy, PR maven Valerie Roe, and People Before Profit’s Barbara Smyth took to Twitter last weekend to protest... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: HOME SCHOOL HUB (RTÉ)

IN AN attempt to fill the gap left by ongoing school closures, the return of Home School Hub ensures that young children can access curriculum-based learning, even if they don’t have the internet. It also means that RTÉ gets to show off its public service broadcasting credentials by handing over three hours of television daily... Read more »

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FEEDING OPERATION TRANSFORMATION’S COFFERS

AS RTÉ’s Operation Transformation clogs up our TV screens and radio shows for the 12th year running, you’d have to wonder how it’s still deemed acceptable to publicly humiliate people on national TV for being overweight. Or indeed how acceptable it is that the show is being sponsored to the tune of €230k by the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: CLEAR HISTORY (RTÉ 2)

“WE ALL have moments in our lives we wish we could delete,” host Kevin McGahern announces at the start of Clear History – and many RTE viewers might choose to forget the broadcaster’s extensive roll-call of ‘comedy’ flops. Unfortunately, Clear History is destined to join the ever-growing Montrose hall of comedy shame. Even with the broad squad of UK... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: MARIAN (RTÉ ONE)

VIEWERS WATCHING Patrick Farrelly and Kate O’Callaghan’s documentary on Marian Finucane this week, will have been taken with its narrator, John Clarke, his grief for his wife, who died suddenly one year ago, and the manner in which he is filmed in black and white by Kate McCullough. But the licence fee payer’s enjoyment of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: CALLAN KICKS THE YEAR 2020 (RTE ONE)

MUCH OF the commentary around 2020 includes the word “unprecedented” for obvious reasons but what clearly did not fit into this category was the inability of Oliver Callan to convince with his impersonation of a sharp political satirist. Once more, the jaded format found the comic hauling out his slew of Bobby Davro-style impressions for... Read more »

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DEIRDRE O’KANE’S GIG NATION

HIGH PROFILE hosting gigs are relatively scarce these days thanks to the Covid pandemic. On that basis, the knowledge that the few available jobs are being hoovered up by two comedians must truly rub salt into the wounds of our seasoned presenters. Every time you turn on the TV, you run the risk of Deirdre... Read more »

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FRANK AND THERESA’S MUSICAL SWANSONG?

It’s once more into the fray for the indefatigable Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe, whose financial misfortunes had a very public airing last year. With their well-documented difficulties out of the way, the pair appear to be launching a return to the world of entertainment. Their brand new company, McNamara-Lowe Video Productions Limited, was set... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: LOVE IS IN THE AIR (RTE PLAYER)

RELATIONSHIPS scarcely come more toxic than that between RTE and its viewership – a fact again rammed home by “socially distanced” dating show Love Is In The Air. In a month where Warners Bros’ decision to move its entire slate of 2021 movies to streaming service HBO Max sparked a major debate in the trade papers,... Read more »

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BLACK’S HEART BEATS AGAIN 

HE HAS had major chart successes over the years, but record company boss Paul O’Reilly’s heart was presumably low when his Terenure pad failed to sell for its initial asking price of 1.1m.  After languishing on the market for a while, the news that a buyer was willing to stump up €995,000 for 6 Rathdown... Read more »

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DR EVA PILES ON THE POUNDS

Eva Orsmond

TV doctor Eva Orsmond is undoubtedly hoping that lardy Irish masochists will trundle over to her Portuguese “health hotel” when it opens on May 1, particularly as the project has, to date, cost €3.2m. The stern Finnish doctor and her husband Wyatt purchased the Solar Alvura resort in Moncarapacho, having made a tidy profit from... Read more »

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ANNA DALY’S SIDE HUSTLE

COULD THE fact that her former colleague is currently embroiled in an equal pay battle with Virgin Media Television have inspired Ireland AM presenter Anna Daly to start up her new clothing brand? This week’s launch of Little Bliss by Anna happened to coincide with a High Court judge giving the broadcaster permission to challenge... Read more »

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LOUIS WALSH’S NEW ACT

SO CALLED ‘pop guru’ Louis Walsh has just incorporated a new management company and wound up his long time business, Brill Management Ltd, where the finances have been struggling to make the hit parade in recent times. Certainly, Louis is a chap who knows the value of money and recently announced that while he considers... Read more »

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A WHOLE LOTTIE INFLUENCING AT 2FM

AS SHE beeps at them while driving her brand new wheels through the RTÉ car park, brand ambassador and 2fm entertainment presenter, Lottie Ryan, must surely attract envious glances from colleagues.  Or maybe naked jealousy, since there appears to be a recent relaxing of the national broadcaster’s previously iron-cast rules forbidding presenters from entering into... Read more »

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MUNDY SINGING THE BLUES

THE ANNOUNCEMENT of the beneficiaries of the Government’s €1.7m Music Industry Stimulus Package was less harmoniously received than Minister Catherine Martin might have hoped. Much of the discord centres around the fact that while some musicians won’t be given a red cent, other artists are set to receive financial support through all three of the... Read more »

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PANTO WARS: OH YES THEY DID

PANTO MAY be for the kids, but there were lots of grown up people throwing their toys out of the pram over it in recent days. First up were Alan Hughes and Karl Broderick, who took umbrage at their company, Anthem Productions, being left off the Government’s €5m Live Performance Scheme. Broderick went on social... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE DEN (RTE ONE)  

RTE HAS spent considerable time recently hyping a turkey – and for once, it isn’t a new sitcom. Rather, they have built anticipation for the return of Dustin and Zig & Zag on The Den, the staple of Gen X childhoods now given a fresh run until Christmas on Sunday evenings. For most TV channels,... Read more »

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RTÉ DIGITAL FUTURE?

FRUSTRATED VIEWERS of the beloved RTÉ Player will not have found much comfort at recent Oireachtas hearings. Adrian Lynch, Director of Audience, Channels and Marketing at RTÉ, was among contributors at the Communications Committee on Wednesday. The executive was ebullient about the national broadcaster’s response to the pandemic this year but funding challenges at Montrose... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: LOVE (RODDY DOYLE)

LIKE MUCH of Roddy Doyle’s fiction, his 13th novel for adults is made up largely of dialogue. Since the success of The Commitments (published 33 years ago), the author has honed his pared-down prose style to tell stories primarily of working-class people from the northside of Dublin. Using sometimes witty, minimalist and repetitive language, the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: DEAD STILL

The premiere of Dead Still on Halloween weekend proved appropriate, given that there are few scarier prospects than a new RTE drama series. The brainchild of Kilkenny writer John Morton, the show proved reasonably diverting and had some nice comedic flourishes, though it will take a lot more to breathe new life into RTE’s entertainment... Read more »

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PODCAST REVIEW: THAT GREAT BUSINESS SHOW

A YEAR ago, former Leinster and Ireland rugby ace Jamie Heaslip asked his Twitter, “Should I start a podcast?”, resulting in a thumbs down from more than 80% of the respondents. But, true competitor that he is, Heaslip deleted the tweet and has now teamed up with consultant and broadcaster Conall Ó Móráin to launch That... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: THE HILL (BERNARD BROGAN WITH KIERAN SHANNON)

THE FIRST of what’s sure to be an avalanche of memoirs from Dublin’s five-in-a-row team arrives courtesy of The Hill, an underwhelming effort by star forward Bernard Brogan and sports hack Kieran Shannon. Comically, the story is presented as an against-all-odds tale of sporting endeavour. It’s an angle that fails to convince, given that Brogan... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE SOUTH WESTERLIES

SOMETIMES WITH new TV programmes, the production back-story is rather more interesting than production itself. RTE’s new prime-time, Sunday night offering, The South Westerlies, produced by Paul Donovan’s Deadpan Pictures and directed by Simon Gibney, blows cold rather than hot, and there’s five more long hours to come. Deadpan has specialised in comedy drama and... Read more »

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AUTUMN BLUES

THE NEWLY released RTE autumn schedules promise “18 hours of new Irish drama” – much of which could be taking place in the RTE canteen. Indeed, the riveting subplots that have developed around replacing Sean O’Rourke will likely prove more compelling than any of the national broadcaster’s scripted output.     Given the pressing need to... Read more »

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