Why RTÉ's Reeling in the Years is still going strong

Why RTÉ's Reeling in the Years is still going strong

By Agnes Cogan,
Friday, 20th October 2023
Reeling in the Years (Credit: RTÉ)
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The producer of Reeling in the Years offered an enthralling presentation on RTÉ One’s hit show at a Republic of Ireland event in Dublin in September.

John O’Regan created Reeling in the Years, which first aired in 1999, and has subsequently produced the series.

The show – inspired by the BBC series The Rock ’n’ Roll Years, which dates from the 1980s – mixes archive material with music and has grown into something quite extraordinary, tugging at the public’s heart strings in a unique way. 

The key to the success of the series lies in its clever editing, and O’Regan gave a masterclass in this TV craft, offering an exceptional insight into the production process.

Each of the 58 episodes covers the national and international events of a single year, but O’Regan emphasised that he includes interesting, small events as well as the major, headline-hitting happenings in the series. 

These feature the ordinary and often anonymous individuals who are the warp and weft of Ireland’s social history, whether happy or sad, celebratory or grieving.