RTÉ’s New Season puts focus on modern day Ireland

RTÉ today announced a slate of new Irish programming, star signings and a strong focus on climate as part of its upcoming new season.

Climate and environmental issues remain one of the world’s greatest challenges. This November, to put a focus on the scale of the problem, RTÉ will devote an entire week of investigations, events and debate to the issue.  A Youth Assembly will be the heart of our RTÉ on Climate Week, where 157 young people will meet in the Dáil to debate the issues.

Public service media has never been more important. Independent journalism, local stories, home-grown performers, writers and artists: these are what you will see in a diverse schedule which, across television, radio and online, demonstrates the breadth of what RTÉ delivers to Irish life, and underlines how important public service media is in reflecting who we were, who we are today, and where we’re going.

Dee Forbes, Director-General – RTÉ

What an exciting new season we have to look forward to. RTÉ’s diverse content reaches over 90% of Irish audiences weekly across all its services. To be the home of the Irish rugby team, give a platform for younger voices as they participate in the Youth Assembly during RTÉ On Climate week, to engage Irish audiences with some of the biggest live entertainment shows, are all examples of our role in Irish life. RTÉ continues to deliver trusted journalism as well as shaping the nation with our impactful stories. This is RTÉ at its best. 

Adrian Lynch , Director of Audience, Channels and Marketing – RTÉ

RTÉ’s season on climate will see a range of brand-new content across all platforms.  RTÉ explores climate and environmental issues facing Ireland, with specially commissioned documentaries, events, and debates. Gerald Fleming fronts Will Ireland Survive 2050, RTÉ News will continue to put a focus on climate with special reports from Paul Cunningham, and Philip Boucher-Hayes will report in a special programme on government actions and inactions when it comes to climate.

RTÉ will continue to strive to uncover impactful Irish stories that need to be told, with new series including Quinn Country, Redress Board, and The Teenage Ambassadors, alongside RTÉ’s ongoing commitment to quality journalism and news and current affairs.

RTÉ Investigates is set to uncover a number of major new stories this new season, along with more ground-breaking documentaries.

Brand new drama and comedy this new season includes Dublin Murders, staring Sarah Greene, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Killan Scott; Irish period mystery Dead Still, and a brand new series of the ever popular The Young Offenders. RTÉ’s commitment to developing new creative talent is underlined with a new season RTÉ/Screen Ireland comedy pilots. Ireland’s most-watched soap Fair City celebrates 30 years, with an hour-long special and the reappearances of some faces from the past.

  • Dublin Murders for BBC One, Starz and RTÉ with support from Northern Ireland Screen, is an eight-part crime drama starring Killian Scott, Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Based on the Dublin Murder Squad series by crime novelist Tana French, the drama has been adapted for the screen by renowned screenwriter Sarah Phelps best-known for her Agatha Christie TV dramas and for her adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Set during the height of the Celtic Tiger, the series will focus on two murder investigations led by ambitious and charismatic Detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox.
  • Dead Still  – RTÉ and Acorn Media Enterprises (AME) have partnered to commission this Irish period mystery with Dublin-based Deadpan Pictures and Toronto-based Shaftesbury co-producing, alongside ZDF Enterprises. Set in 1880s Ireland in the Victorian era heyday of “postmortem photography,” the six-episode period drama follows a renowned memorial photographer as he investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects. Dead Still is written by John Morton and directed by Imogen Murphy (Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope, Red Rock) and Craig David Wallace (Slasher, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Murdoch Mysteries) Cast includes Michael Smiley and Eileen O’Higgins.
  • South Westerlies  – A drama set in coastal town on the south-west of Ireland, which is earmarked for a Norwegian-owned wind farm.
  • The Young Offenders  – Series 2 continues where series 1 left off telling the coming of age adventures of loveable rogues Conor & Jock and their mother/guardian Mairead as she tries to keep them on the straight and narrow (Alex Murphy, Chris Walley and Hilary Rose, reprising their roles), with friendship, loyalty, laughter and lots of mischief.

This year’s comedy slate includes four RTÉ / Screen Ireland Comedy Pilots.

  • Headcases, starring Seana Kerslake. Set on the Northside of Dublin, the last thing best-friends and co-owners of Headcases Hair and Beauty salon need is any more drama. But that’s exactly what they’re about to get.
  • Bump, starring Charlene McKenna, deals with the trials and tribulations of becoming a surrogate for your sister.
  • Dad is the story of a middle-aged dad moving in with his conservative gay sons one-bedroom apartment after his wife has kicked him out.
  • Handy tells the tale of two stepsisters specialising in the oddest of odd jobs.

Under the Storyland banner, RTÉ and Northern Ireland Screen give emerging Irish creative talent an opportunity to make original Irish dramas.

  • Wastewater  – Vinny and Lauryn fall for each other but their future together is thrown into doubt by the intersection of the darkest parts of their lives. Written and directed by Dave Tynan (Dublin Oldschool
  • Skip to the End – A man suffering the trauma of his young daughter’s hospitalisation following a car accident is given a mysterious solution to skip past his pain. Written and directed by Jason Butler. 
  • Eat the Rich – A young bicycle courier, struggling to survive in the gig economy, takes revenge on the boss who fired him. Written by PJ Hart. 
  • A Deal Is A Deal  – A misguided and disgruntled teenage pigeon fancier reacts badly to the death of his champion young bird.Written by Francis and Geraldine Scullion. 
  • Mushrooms  – A desperate housewife takes drastic measures to solve her problem. Written by Marion McDowell, directed by Meghan McArdle.
  • Yellow Bird – Faced with the eviction from her home by her own daughter, an elderly mother takes in a Syrian Refugee as freedom takes on a new relative meaning for the pair. Written and directed by Grainne Dwyer.

RTÉ will continue to deliver big live shows and family entertainment. The Keith Barry Experience adds to a line-up that includes The Late Late Show, Room To Improve, The Ray D’arcy Show, Ireland’s Fittest Family, and The Tommy Tiernan Show. The late Brendan Grace wil be celebrated in Brendan Grace: Thanks for the Memories, while Dancing with the Stars adds new dancers to the professional line-up.

RTÉ remains a major home of free-to-air sport. From the Rugby World Cup in Japan, to grassroots level with the AIB GAA Club Championships, to Women’s 6 Nations to the World Rowing Championships, RTÉ’s mission is to bring audiences closer to the action.

RTÉ Sport will be the home of the Irish team for the Rugby World Cup with new signings Jamie Heaslip, Donncha O’Callaghan and Michael Lynagh adding to its stellar Rugby World Cup panel as Six Nations winning captain Fiona Coughlan joins the commentary team.

RTÉ provides a strong platform for Irish people to share their stories. This is reflected across new season programming including The RotundaThe Yellow Brick RoadChanging Ireland, Raised by the Village, Harvest Week, and My Big Day Home or Away.