Editor Religious Programmes: Roger Childs

RTÉ Religious Programmes

RTÉ Religious Programmes commissioning budget for 2013-14 is already fully committed to Worship programmes, following previous commissioning processes.

However, we would welcome proposals with funding from other sources, which will broaden and enrich the existing Religious slate. A number of possible sources of funding are listed below. No slots are currently allocated to these ideas, but all areas of the schedule are open to consideration.

It's important that proposals don't replicate ideas and types of programming currently available from Religious Programmes' existing strands:

Would You Believe? (Ireland's longest-running documentary series covers a broad range of religious and spiritual subjects, using a variety of narrative styles and approaches, from profiles to investigations.)

The Meaning of Life, with Gay Byrne (one-to-one interviews with a broad range of public figures about the way life shapes, and is shaped by, their beliefs and moral values.) Beyond Belief (Mick Peelo presents a series of studio-based discussions, exploring the interface between religion and current affairs.)

The Moment of Truth (Blathnaid n­ Chofaigh explores the context and consequences of life-changing religious, ethical and social choices through one-to-one interviews.)

Worship (weekly Christian Masses and Services, plus Christmas and Easter ceremonies.)

Festivals (marking and exploring a variety of minority faith festivals.)

iWitness (short, nightly reflections that attempt to capture "the spirit of Ireland, one voice and one minute at a time.)

So, what aren't we currently doing, for which independent producers might be able to attract funding from non-RTÉ sources?


Most of our in-house output has a contemporary Irish outlook. So, what are the stories and subjects which could add historical context and depth to that?

E.g. entertaining and intelligent archive-based formats - perhaps revisiting stories, places and characters from the past and/or seeing what has changed. Recent successes in this area include The Radharc Squad. In production, we have a feature documentary about Glasnevin Cemetery and an observational film about body donors to Trinity College Dublin's school of anatomy.
One-off docs and short series shedding new light on the familiar stories or revealing intriguing new stories from the past. Recent output has included On God's Mission, which explored the story and legacy of the Irish Catholic missionary movement, and Lifers, which brought this story up to date.

Now is an interesting time to take stock of the changing position of the Catholic Church in Irish society and beyond. But also, think beyond Catholicism: from Quakers to Bahais, from the Orange Order to Pagans, we are open to proposals and stories which explain the nature and impact of faith in Ireland in fresh and engaging ways.

And what about the history of ideas? At a time when Science and Religion are trying to decide whether they are opposites or partners, we would welcome proposals which bring that complex and combustible relationship to life on television in a way that engages and informs a mainstream RTÉ audience.
Whatever the subject, the approach must be both authoritative and entertaining. Religion should not be po-faced. Be clear what you're trying to say and find creative, compelling ways to say it.


Think RICE: we need programmes which Reflect, Interrogate, Celebrate and Explain the beliefs, practices and identities of Ireland's minority faith communities through strong, engaging stories and characters. As a rule of thumb, don't treat minority issues as minority interest issues. We are a broadcaster, not a narrowcaster.

Look for ways in which various religious outlooks offer a different perspective on familiar subjects (education, health, births, marriages, deaths). Don't patronise; don't wear kid gloves; do respect; do ask hard questions, then think of ways of bringing the answers entertainingly to light.

Also, see commissioning opportunities available under "Regional & Diversity"


When different moral and religious outlooks rub shoulders in a diverse and changing society, there can be conflict, creativity or confusion. Who's right? Who's wrong? And how do we know?
On subjects as diverse as faith schooling, adoption, fertility treatment, euthanasia, genetics, marriage, sex and sexuality, important ethical and religious debates are currently taking place. How best can we bring these to television in ways which inform, challenge and entertain a mainstream audience? And what about the ethical challenges we will face in the future. What are they and how will we meet them?

We particularly welcome ideas that make creative use of format to engage younger audiences and the "I'm not religious, but I am spiritual" generation in energetic and informed ethical debate.


As well as looking for possible co-production partners, you may wish to look for funding from other sources. Each will have its own funding and commissioning criteria, which must be studied carefully, alongside RTÉ's . Please talk to Roger Childs, Head of RTÉ Religious Programmes before approaching these or other bodies about AFP or co-production possibilities.

The BAI Sound & Vision Fund ( http://www.bai.ie/funding_sound_vision.html );

Jerusalem Productions (http://www.jerusalemproductions.org.uk/tvguidelines.html);

The Simon Cumbers Media Fund (www.simoncumbersmediafund.ie/ );

The Dept of Foreign Affairs Anti-Sectarianism Fund (http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=42931);

The Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funding-schemes/Broadcast-Development-Awards/index.htm);

The Templeton Foundation (http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/core-funding-areas/) .


We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Religion Genreal"

Please note:
The discussion of, or initial interest in, a proposal does not represent a commitment to commission by RTÉ and should not be understood as such.

Commissioning decisions will reflect the quality of proposals received and the scheduling priorities operating at the time. RTÉ's financial position will also be a factor.

Any proposals previously submitted to RTÉ in categories listed here, and which were rejected on a first reading in a previous Round, should not be re-submitted and will not be reconsidered.


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