Press Releases

RTÉ Saddened by the Death of Best-Selling Writer, Maeve Binchy

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: Colleagues across RTÉ have been saddened to learn of the passing of the best-selling novelist and writer of stage, screen and radio, Maeve Binchy, who died yesterday following a short illness, aged 72.

Director-General of RTÉ, Noel Curran, said, "Maeve's contribution to the world of Irish writing is incomparable. She was one of Ireland's most popular writers for a reason. She wrote about this country as she saw it - the tensions between our past and our present, our rural and urban ways. She worked with RTÉ on a range of television and radio programmes as well as sharing her own thoughts and observations on Irish life with presenters such as Gay Byrne, Marian Finucane and John Murray. She was a warm and honest writer, with a sharp and intelligent wit, and she was a warm and honest person too. She will be deeply missed."

A prolific and immensely popular writer who sold more than 40 million books worldwide, Maeve had a long relationship with RTÉ. One of her first films for RTÉ Television, Deeply Regretted By, won a Jacob's Award in 1978. Like so many of her films - whether made for the big screen, such as Circle of Friends, or written or adapted for television, such as Anner House or The Lilac Bus -it proved a huge hit with audiences. Jane Gogan, Commissioning Editor of Drama for RTÉ Television, said, "Maeve Binchy was a woman of exceptional talent, delightful, kind and generous in the extreme. I always enjoyed the opportunities I had to work with her. She will be greatly missed from Irish Life."

Maeve Binchy was a frequent and hugely popular contributor to RTÉ Radio over many decades. Early appearances included panel contributions to the 1968 programme On Stage, a music/variety programme. Her own fiction work featured on many occasions on RTÉ Radio 1. In May 1998 Maeve recorded extracts from her novel Evening Class as part of the RTÉ Radio 1 summer series Reading in the Shade.

RTÉ Radio 1 provided the platform for Maeve's many forays into the world of drama. In 2005 RTÉ 2fm DJ Gerry Ryan was among the cast of Surprise, a four-part radio drama written by Maeve. Other radio drama work included the award-winning Infancy and Tia Maria, starring Oscar winner Kathy Bates. Maeve was a driving force behind the RTÉ Radio 1 Human Rights Drama Seasons, while her story The Games Room was adapted for RTÉ Radio 1 by Anne-Marie Casey in 2009.

Commenting, Managing Director of RTÉ Radio Clare Duignan said: "Maeve contributed hugely to fiction and drama on RTÉ Radio over the years. But undoubtedly it was Maeve's personal interviews on RTÉ Radio that proved among her most popular contributions. Maeve's final appearance on RTÉ Radio 1 was with Marian Finucane on Saturday 23rd June 2012, when Maeve recommended some summer reads. Among her most special contributions was an edition of The Tubridy Show, when Ryan Tubridy broadcast live from Maeve's home in Dalkey. It was a special programme, which captured something of the essence of a very special woman."