Athlone and the people of the Westmeath town are the stars of this opening sequence for 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly'.

The people of Athlone go about their daily business in the County Westmeath town. Local landmarks such as the Ritz Cinema, the Athlone Brigade IRA Memorial on Custume Place, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in the Market Square and the Athlone Railway Bridge, also known as the White Bridge, over the River Shannon are all featured.

Once a week, from June to September, the ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ film crew would arrive at a town or village in any county in Ireland. They would film the people and the place and return to RTÉ where the footage was edited and put to music.

Athlone (1977)
Athlone (1977)

This short film of around one minute’s duration formed part of the opening sequence for that week’s episode. But no one knew which location had been chosen, and it was not advertised as part of the programme billings in the RTÉ Guide or newspapers.

So with this in mind, people the length and breadth of the country tuned in religiously, in case it was the turn of their town or village to have its few minutes of fame.

Frank Hall’s amusing and satirical series began on 29 September 1971 with the full title ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly Incorporating the Provincial Vindicator’ which became known as ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’.

The series allowed Frank Hall to follow his own interest in the lives of viewers throughout the country.
Regarded as RTÉ’s flagship comedy show, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy sketches, re-edited videos, cartoons and spoof television formats.

The show ran for nine series until 1980.

This episode of ‘Hall’s Pictorial Weekly’ was broadcast on 30 November 1977.