RTS Republic of Ireland

TG4 boss warns of the need for scale for Irish-language media

This warning was given by TG4 Ard-Stiúrthóir (Director- General) Alan Esslemont, who was in conversation with RTS Republic of Ireland Chair Agnes Cogan at an event in early November.

TG4, Ireland’s Irish-language channel, celebrated its 25th birthday at the end of October.

Esslemont, who has been Director-General since 2016, said: ‘Despite the significant number of major global media services and intense competition, we believe that TG4 is needed more now than ever.... We are a vital part of modern Ireland.’

Linear TV alive and kicking

The Late Late Toy Show

So said Jill McGrath, CEO of TV Audience Measurement (TAM) Ireland, at the RTS event “What Ireland is watching” in late January.

She noted that “69% of all viewing is to linear-TV... that is viewed either live or within seven days of the original broadcast. 

“In 2020, the average person watched 89 hours of linear-TV every month, which is the equivalent of watching the whole of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix 12 and a half times.” 

RTS RoI find out what went into the making of RTÉ Does Comic Relief

An RTS Republic of Ireland event in late October looked at how the June fundraiser brought stars, including Normal People‘s Marianne and Connell and Fleabag‘s Hot Priest, to the small screen.

RTÉ entertainment producers Clare and Michael Hughes (they are not related) were given just six weeks to get the show ready for transmission on 26 June.

Our Friend in Ireland: Agnes Cogan

Agnes Cogan

The past six months have been a period like no other in Ireland. Our lockdown has been followed by a partial lifting of restrictions that has us bobbing up and down between level two and level three of the pandemic regulations.

The good news is that production has resumed, and it is slightly surreal that Matt Damon, star of Contagion, a spooky thriller about a deadly virus and a global panic, has been spotted pottering about in Dalkey, a small seaside town south of Dublin, where he chose to spend lockdown.

Filmmakers discuss the significance of TV archive

“Raiders of the (lost) archives” featured a distinguished panel, who discussed why and how programmes are saved and stored – and the value of archive material to film-makers.

Documentary film-maker Sé Merry Doyle recently donated much of his work – the Loopline Collection, named after his production company Loopline Films – to the Irish Film Institute (IFI). Volume 1 of the collection includes Doyle’s 1999 documentary about the lives of Dublin street traders, Alive Alive O: A Requiem for Dublin.

TV producers discuss the importance of locally produced drama in Dublin

Zoe (Amy Manson) in Raw (Credit: RTÉ, Ecosse Films & Octagon Films)

Remaining “local” in terms of story, themes and talent was key. In fact, Paul Marquess – MD of PGM TV and a veteran of soaps including Brookside and Hollyoaks – argued that what worked, in his experience, was being “very local”. 

Marquess said: “It is much harder to build a franchise with global appeal… but there is a huge appetite for quality English-speaking drama.” He called for more locally produced drama in Dublin, adding: “This is a cool place!”