Press Releases

Get Ready for an Unmissable Spring on RTÉ One

06 Jan 2014: As we move into a brand New Year, RTÉ One is looking forward to Spring with a schedule packed full of unmissable television.

With a range of home produced Drama, Factual, Arts, Lifestyle and Entertainment series and programmes, RTÉ One will have the best and brightest television programming with something for everyone.

George Dixon, RTÉ One Channel Controller, said, “Spring on RTÉ One will be about bringing our viewers more of what we know they love – unmissable drama,  strong documentaries that reflect life in contemporary Ireland, world class news and current affairs, top quality arts programming and big entertainment shows.  RTÉ One is about family viewing and our fresh Spring schedule has something for everyone.  There’s a range of brand new drama with appointment-to-view Amber and Quirke right through to The Play Next Door and Ireland’s most popular soap, Fair City.  As ever our documentaries and factual programming tell the stories of modern Ireland, from the difficulties of reproductive challenges to the trials of traffic and from our architectural heritage to the stories of drugs mules.  Meanwhile there’s much to entertain as Des Bishop learns Chinese, we all get fit with Operation Transformation, we search for The Voice Of Ireland, for MasterChef Ireland and for Ireland’s Fittest Family and we find out How To Be Happy. And with the launch of RTÉ One HD I’m delighted that we are now able to bring our viewers Ireland’s favourite channel in high definition.”

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This spring on RTÉ One is all about unmissable Drama.

Amber (NEW)
This four-part drama tells the story of what happens when 14-year-old Amber (Lauryn Canny) fails to return home one evening.  Turning the lives of her friends and family upside down, her disappearance sparks unimaginable pressures for her family – the guilt, fear and devastation as they realise every parent’s worst nightmare has just happened to them.  Starring Eva Birthistle (Walking The Dead) and David Murray (Raw).   Amber is written by Rob Cawley and Gary Duggan and directed by Thaddeus O Sullivan.  Each episode of this four-part series plays with the chronology of events and focuses on the perspective of one individual connected to the case as first Amber’s family, then friends, then complete strangers become drawn into the quest to find out what happened.

Quirke (NEW)
Based on the books by Benjamin Black (pseudonym of award-winning Irish writer John Banville), Quirke is an atmospheric thriller set in 1950s Dublin.  Gabriel Byrne stars as the chief pathologist in the city morgue - a charismatic loner whose job takes him into unexpected places as he uncovers the secrets of sudden death. Along the smoky streets and damp alleys of this rich and smouldering world, Quirke goes from bars that glimmer with peat fires and whiskey to elegant Dublin houses brimming with sexual tension. It’s a time full of mystery, secrets and intrigue.

Each of the three feature-length episodes will see Quirke investigate the death of one of the unfortunate souls to end up on his mortuary slab. But as Quirke turns accidental detective he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined. Little by little he is forced to confront the sins of his past as he peels back the layers of his own tangled family history.

Fair City 
There’s lots of drama in Carrigstown as Jane continues to lie and manipulate people in order to stay in Callum’s life, leading to a divide between Paul and Niamh. Bob and Judith clash, while Wayne takes industrial action against his girlfriend Orla. And Dan inadvertently jeopardises Yvonne’s case against Martin.

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RTÉ One’s Factual schedule sees a wide variety of new and returning documentaries and factual programming  telling the stories of contemporary Ireland.

Her Body, Our Babies (NEW)
An observational film following one Irish couple as they travel to India to realise their dream of starting a family together. Over the course of a year, from conception through birth, this film captures the trials and tribulations of an emotional process fraught with legal complications and ethical dilemmas.                                        

Peru Girl (NEW)
Michaella McCollum's arrest in August as she tried to fly out of Peru with a suitcase full of cocaine made headlines across the world. Both Michaella and her co-accused Melissa Reid, are now poster girls for everything associated with 21st century drugs culture: hedonism, money, international crime and the complex politics of the worldwide war on drugs.  This documentary goes behind the media frenzy to explore how a 20-year-old Irish woman apparently seeking a summer of fun and adventure in Ibiza ended up in a Peruvian prison having admitted attempting to smuggle 11 kgs of cocaine out of the country.

Alzheimer’s  (NEW)
A  one-off documentary about Alzheimer's Disease which follows  Ryan O'Neill as he discovers if he carries the gene for early onset Alzheimer's. Ryan O’Neill was 16 when his father died of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Of his father’s 11 siblings, 8 of them died from this disease before the age of 50.  The family carries a genetic mutation which results in Familial or Dominantly Inherited Alzheimers. Put simply, Ryan and each of his 5 siblings, have a 50/50 chance of having the disease themselves. Now aged 29, Ryan has decided that it’s time to find out what his future holds.                                 

Des Bishop’s Chinese Revolution (NEW)
The Chinese language just got a new character. This series follows the adventures of comedian Des Bishop as he moves to China for a year and attempts to mount a successful one-man comedy show for a local audience through Mandarin Chinese. There’s only one problem. The locals are already laughing but for all the wrong reasons: Des doesn’t speak the language and the Chinese think his task is impossible. It's a huge challenge but Des never does things by halves - living with a Chinese host family, attending Chinese university, working in restaurants and ice-cream vans; Des is fully immersing himself in Chinese culture in pursuit of his goal.

Mean Streets (NEW)
Stress and aggression are commonplace on Irish roads.  From the simple beep of a horn to all-out altercations, bad manners and even road rage play out almost every day on Irish streets.  Cars, trucks, bicycles, buses and pedestrians are fighting their corner just travelling through the day. Financial stresses, early commutes, aging vehicles and pressurised roads all add to the congestion. Mean Streets is a one-off documentary that hits the tarmac to look at the current conflicts in daily traffic.

Building Ireland (NEW)
A brand new six-part series Building Ireland will explore and explain how our great building and engineering achievements came to be.  In the company of an enthusiastic team of experts, the series marries local heritage with technology and engineering, looking at what was done and how, where it was done and why, and who built it and when.

Living The Wildlife
Colin Stafford Johnson is back for another six-part series of Living the Wildlife. In this series Colin travels all over Ireland filming a fascinating variety of wildlife including a colony of Puffins on the beautiful Skellig Islands.

A Sovereign People (NEW)
Looking towards the coming decade of Irish historical anniversaries A Sovereign People is a story of politics, culture and society from the perspective of contemporary Ireland. This documentary will explore the decades that laid the stepping stones for the foundation of the Irish state and the claim to sovereignty, exploring the historical and cultural significance of this entire endeavour on the road to the Easter Rising and the independent sovereign state that emerged in 1922.

Pioneers and Aviators (NEW)
Award-winning director Alan Gilsenan brings us this two-part series telling the dramatic story of the Irish and the air. From the evolution of Aer Lingus, the development of airports at Foynes, Shannon and Dublin, the pivotal emergence of Tony Ryan and the enduring dominance of Ryanair, Pioneers And Aviators culminates with a focus on Ireland’s contemporary role in aviation.                       

Blood Rising (NEW)
Incredibly moving and passionately angry, Mark McLoughlin’s film Blood Rising brings us right into the heart of a truly terrifying world. The Mexican city of Juárez is nicknamed ‘the capital of murdered women.’ Irish artist Brian Maguire has spent three years working with these women to bring their stories to the international community. Well known for his social and political commitment, Maguire creates portraits of the missing women which he then shares with their families.

Ear To The Ground
Returns in January with a new series of the ever popular farming, food and rural affairs programme.  And Tracks And Trails returns to feature spectacular walks and cycle tracks in stunning locations all over the country, presented by a different personality each week.                         

Dragons’ Den
Dragons’ Den is back for a sixth series with the Dragons back in the Den ready to put Ireland’s top entrepreneurs and inventors through their paces. Following its success last year Junior Dragons’ Den will also be returning again as part of the series.                             

Someone to Love (NEW) 
A heart-warming profile of the very real desires of people that are either intellectually or physically disabled, exploring the day-to-day details of their romantic lives, as well as documenting their relationships with their own bodies.             

Close To Evil (NEW)
This award-winning documentary tells the story of Tomi Reichental , who as a 9 year old was starving to death in Bergen Belsen concentration camp. A 23 year old SS Guard, Hilde Lisiewicz was one of Tomi’s persecutors. Sixty-seven years later, in 2012, Tomi Reichental – resident in Ireland since 1959 and an Irish citizen since 1977 - sets off from Dublin to encounter this convicted war criminal in Hamburg.  But will Hilde Lisiewicz consent to meet with Tomi Reichental?

RTÉ News will provide extensive coverage of the major news stories at home and abroad in bulletins and programmes throughout the television schedule including the Six One News, Nine News, Nuacht and News on Two. Prime Time returns as Miriam O’Callaghan, David McCullagh and Claire Byrne present more in-depth analysis of current affairs and topical reports three nights a week. The RTÉ Investigations Unit will continue to bring ground breaking investigations to light in 2014. Aine Lalor brings a weekly round-up and analysis of the major political stories on The Week on Politics while Keelin Shanley presents a mix of news, sport, business and entertainment weekdays on Morning Edition.  Nationwide continues to travel the length and breadth of the island as Mary Kennedy and Anne Cassin bring viewers an eclectic round-up of Irish news, views and events from around the country.

Class Swap (NEW)
Three groups of Irish secondary school students and three teachers swap their timetables to follow the school routines in Finland, Poland and Spain. They are spending two weeks living with local communities, attending local schools and experiencing the reality of three very different education systems.

RTÉ’s landmark series 21st Century Child returns to continue to trace the growth of the same group of 12 children over the first years of their lives.  And Hands On returns with programming for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities in Ireland, presented in Irish Sign Language.                    

Irish language programming on RTÉ One brings new programming and some popular favourites.

Gliondar (NEW)
A new series from Cláracha Gaeilge which reveals something of ourselves as a nation and focuses on the passion and exuberance that grips us as we follow our own individual pursuits.  The occasional series Cloch le Carn returns to RTÉ One, taking a constructive, but not always uncritical, look at major public figures who’ve made a contribution, sometimes controversially, to Irish society in their lifetimes. The ever popular Scannal returns looking back at some of the scandals that, shocked, outraged, amused and incited the nation.  Stories that divided families, lit up the nation's airwaves, brought down governments and caused us to pound the streets of the nation in protest.  So no shortage of material then!

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As ever, RTÉ One has lots to cater for fans of Lifestyle programming. The hugely popular Operation Transformation returns to our screens at the beginning of January for a sixth series with Kathryn Thomas at the helm to follow the progress of the five leaders as they work towards a healthier lifestyle.

The Brennan brothers return in a brand new series of At Your Service as they face some of their biggest challenges, biggest projects and biggest budgets, including helping a remote and struggling Country Park that faces closure unless it can attract more visitors, tackling a little-known eco-village that needs to put itself on the tourist trail and getting involved in retail as they attempt to transform the fortunes of a Farm Shop in Wicklow.

Jigs & Wigs, The Extreme World of Irish Dancing (NEW)
This observational documentary series takes an affectionate look at some of the more obscure corners of the world of Irish Dance, looking at the politics and fracturing of dance organisations in Ireland and the fanatical and sometimes weird and wonderful world of Irish Dance abroad, from the gay pride in Las Vegas to adult feiseanna in Strasburg.  We look at Festival dancing in Northern Ireland, with its distinctly Protestant ethos, and follow a very talented and dedicated family of Travellers as they fight for a place in the World Championship.

Masterchef Ireland
The biggest cooking show on television returns with a brand new series.  MasterChef Ireland will see a new batch of top amateur cooks start the battle for a place in the Final 16 and a chance to become MasterChef Ireland.

How to Be Happy (NEW)
Presented by distinguished psychologist and broadcaster Dr. Maureen Gaffney, How To Be Happy is a two part documentary series which explores recent research from the science of happiness and reveals practical ideas to enable people to take action themselves to improve their happiness and well being.

Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and Joe Lindsay return to present Getaways, the popular travel series.  Duncan Stewart returns with Eco Eye to look at clever solutions to environmental challenges. Popular chef Neven Maguire returns with a new Neven Maguire – Home Chef series and the very popular series The Zoo returns with a slice of life behind the scenes at Dublin Zoo.  And the ever-popular Today returns as Daithi and Maura bring viewers an entertaining mix of Ireland's best lifestyle experts, leading chefs, latest entertainment news and viewer giveaways from 4.30pm each weekday.

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Highlights from RTÉ One’s Religious programming include the return of Would You Believe? with diverse stories including The Children of Clonyn Castle,  a group of Jewish children who survived the holocaust and were given sanctuary in an Irish castle for a year after the war and an observational film about the sisters of Glencairn Abbey, Co Waterford.  A Claddagh From Manuela, is a moving hour-long documentary about the impact on Galway and on Arlette and Hans Peter Riedo of the murder there of their only daughter, age 17, while on a language-learning programme there, in 2008.

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Just some of the highlights from a strong Arts schedule include The Play Next Door, The Summit and Neal McGregor, with more news to be announced over the coming months.

Play Next Door (NEW)
Three well-known writers are challenged to deliver a television play under unusual circumstances. Each writer is sent to reside in an Irish community for a month. During this time they live in a local property and, having explored the area, met the locals and observed life in the surrounding district, they write a play set in the property in which they are based. The finished play is informed by their experiences in the locality. The writers to take up the Play Next Door challenge this season are Fiona Looney, Patrick McCabe and Deirdre Purcell.                                                          

The Summit (NEW)
Described by reviewers as “riveting”, “pulse-pounding” and “remarkable”, multi award-winning Irish Documentary, The Summit tells the story of the greatest single tragedy in modern mountaineering history. Funded by RTÉ, the Irish Film Board, the BAI and BBC, The Summit has its world television premiere on RTÉ One.

Neal McGregor (NEW)
This film, by award-winning director Neasa Ní Chianáin, will explore what happened to Neal McGregor, the artist found dead on Inishbofin island in Donegal in 1998.  The film will explore how he came to live on Inishboffin and how he died. In a cinematic style that will use archive, local influences such as home movies from the eighties, Neal’s own drawings and some animation, this film hopes to bring that remarkable enigmatic life into context as we discover more of his influence both in Donegal and abroad.

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This Spring, Entertainment on RTÉ One is all about family viewing and unmissable television.

The Voice of Ireland      
The Voice of Ireland returns for a third season on Sunday 5th January on RTÉ One for a new series with a new addition to the panel and a raft of exciting new talent.   Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan, Jamelia, King of the Jungle Kian Egan and Bressie will be taking their positions in the spinning red chairs ready to hear the best talent Ireland has to offer. And if more than one chair turns, our coaches are willing to do whatever it takes to win.

The longest running chat show in the world, The Late Late Show continues to be Ireland's most popular weekly television show with Ryan Tubridy at the helm. Brendan O’Connor continues to present a lively and popular mix of chat, comedy and music on The Saturday Night Show.  From the beginning of the New Year, Winning Streak gets a whole lot better, with the addition of  a new 1 million euro segment  to  wheel, doubling the current top prize. In addition there’s a weekly prize for two of an exciting trip to San Francisco.

Other popular Entertainment programmes on RTÉ One for spring include Fleadh Cheoil and Transatlantic Sessions.

Ireland’s Fittest Family (NEW) 
From the makers of Celebrity Bainisteoir comes Ireland’s Fittest Family, a new primetime RTÉ One television entertainment show that will search the country for the fittest, fastest, strongest families. After physical and scientific testing, twelve families will qualify to enter the most extreme fitness competition ever.  Over six weeks these elite families will compete against each other on the toughest endurance courses in the country. After each event the weakest family will be eliminated, until there’s just one family standing.  The winning family will walk away with a €15k cash prize and the title of Ireland’s Fittest Family 2013.  Overseeing the whole process will be four mentors, including former international rugby coach Eddie O’Sullivan and legendary Clare Senior Hurling team bainisteoir Davy Fitzgerald, who will mentor the families, working with them each week on fitness, dietary plans and coaching them to elite levels.

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