Peter McEvoy sheds light on documentary filmmaking from the 1960s

In his presentation at RTÉ Television Centre, Dublin, Peter McEvoy explained how the Radharc – Gaelic for vision – films started in the early 1960s. They are not religious programmes as such, but reflect a spiritual ethos.  

McEvoy, a former RTÉ producer, used excerpts from the films to illustrate Radharc’s remarkably broad reach, both geographically and thematically.

The first Radharc programme was aired in January 1962 and over the next 34 years RTÉ broadcast more than 400 from Ireland and around the world.

Christopher Fitz-Simon delivers presentation at RTÉ in Dublin

Christopher and Anne Fitz-Simon

In “How not to train for drama ­– Hamlet without the prince”, Fitz-Simon recalled his life as a stage-struck teenager, including a visit to a 1950 production of Hamlet by the legendary director Tyrone Guthrie at the Gate Theatre.

The production had been announced as being “in modern dress”, which the Dublin theatre critics snidely attributed to the management’s desire to save money on costumes. In the event, the cast was sumptuously dressed in Schiaparelli and Chanel.

The filming of Ryan's Daughter remembered

The arrival of Oscar-winning director David Lean – who had already made the revered epics The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia – in Dingle, Co Kerry in 1970 to make Ryan’s Daughter was big news.

The movie, set in the years after the Easter Rising, starred Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills and Sarah Miles, with an original screenplay from Robert Bolt and cinematography by Freddie Young.

What is Saorview?

Richard Waghorn (Credit: Charles Byrne)

​Saorview, the Irish free digital terrestrial television service, was launched in May 2011 and is run by RTÉ.

The RTÉ director of transformation and technology explained that Saorview has two terrestrial multiplexes, which broadcast all the channels from RTÉ, TG4 and TV 3, as well as Oireachtas TV (the parliament channel), RTÉ Radio stations and digital Aertel services. It reaches about 98% of the population of Ireland.

Saorview gives access to the best in Irish TV and, with certain products, it also offers free channels from the UK.

Dee Forbes delivers the 2017 Dan Gilbert Memorial Lecture

Dee Forbes (Credit: Navada Group)

Speaking before a packed house at Belfast arts venue, the MAC, Forbes said: “Public service media has never been more necessary or more relevant than it is today.”

She placed a strong focus on young audiences, explaining: “We must now prepare and re-imagine RTÉ for the next generation – a generation that has never been without the internet, the smartphone, on-demand video services, social media and access to the best programming and content from all over the world.”

Event report: Shane Kenny and the Benzodiazepine Medical Disaster

Shane Kenny

Kenny was prescribed a benzodiazepine drug in 2001 to treat Meniere’s disease, a rare inner ear condition. In the documentary he argues that prescribed drugs turned a manageable, relatively mild condition, into a disabling, long-term illness.
The event at RTÉ Television Centre drew a large audience of RTS members and guests, including people who claimed that their health had also been adversely affected by the use of benzodiazepines, which include Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

Where next for RTÉ?

RTE's Dee Forbes

When Dee Forbes arrives in Dublin to take up the position of Director-­General of Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, she will be the first woman to hold the post and the first to come from outside the organisation in almost 50 years.

Moreover, Forbes, currently on gardening leave as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks, Northern Europe, will be returning to Ireland on something like half her present salary.

The battle for news viewers

BBC News at Ten with Huw Edwards

This month, the BBC will unveil a longer version of The BBC Ten O’Clock News. The flagship bulletin will also come with enhanced production values. Even though the changes to the programme, fronted by Huw Edwards, have been under consideration for months, it will be seen as the latest round in the “battle of the bongs”, following the October relaunch of ITV’s News at Ten, with the user-friendly Tom Bradby.

Penguin Random House announces move into children’s TV

Penguin Random House are moving into children's TV (Photo Credit: Michael Beirut/Pentagram)

Publisher Penguin Random House has recently announced the promotion of executive Richard Haines to Head of Acquisitions and TV Development. 

Haines' promotion earlier this week marked a shift in the publisher’s approach to the children’s entertainment market.

Richard Haines previously worked on the successful children’s TV show Puffin Rock which was the publisher’s first venture into television. It was broadcast across the world, in Europe, Australia and on Netflix in multiple territories including Japan and the US.