Assistant Commissioning Editor Arts - Sarah Ryder

Updated: 24th March 2016




Head of Documentary & Arts - Niamh O'Connor

Assistant Commissioning Editor Arts - Sarah Ryder

Updated: 24th February 2016



Great story-telling is at the heart of Factual TV: stories with layers beyond first glance, stories that explore issues beneath the surface of Irish life and Irish people today. Factual documentaries will remain 'blue chip' and offer programming that takes a significant and considered approach to state of the nation issues and deliver with the highest possible production values. This is where Factual engages the RTÉ One audience with landmark output.

RTÉ Factual welcomes ideas for programmes to sit in our key slots, Sunday and Monday night @ 9.30pm. Highlights from 2015 included The Recruits 2 x 52: For the first time in its history the Irish Army gave exclusive permission to chronicle their work as they try to mould young men and women into soldiers. Hidden Impact - Concussion and Rugby x1. In this revealing documentary we went in search of answers to awkward and unpopular questions about the game of Rugby. Irelands Great Wealth Divide brought us the story of all those who made money in the recession, how they made it and how Irish society has been changes as a result. David McWilliams took you to the root of that unfairness and inequality, the one rule for us and another for them. In Collusion (feature length) - A landmark documentary which examined the extent of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and security forces which resulted in many murders throughout the NI Troubles. Death in Bolivia - The Michael Dwyer story This film was a personal journey into the heart of South America taken by Caroline Dwyer and her family to find out why and how her son, Michael, was shot dead by secret police in Bolivia in 2009, accused of being part of a plot to assassinate President Evo Morales.

A key objective of the factual department in 2016/2017 is to build on the ability of the Factual Department to react to major events, both through the commissioning process and our in-house capabilities.
What we're looking for:


RTÉ Factual has a strong tradition of authored documentaries. The right author can bring complex ideas and analysis to a receptive Irish audience. On-screen Factual talent should either be experts in a particular field or high-profile, intelligent and respected personalities willing to be immersed and challenged on a particular subject that they are passionate about.

We are looking for new stories and new expertise; charismatic and knowledgeable personalities willing to journey through areas of Irish life, culture and contemporary experience that we might not otherwise have had access to.

Observational documentaries:

We are looking for compelling and innovative proposals for long-term observational and immersive documentary singles and series. We are particularly interested in hearing from companies who have already secured full access to institutions or organisations which are at the frontline of Irish life - anywhere where stories can be told that uncover or illustrate issues which are unfolding now in Ireland. We have a number of projects already in development/production for 2016/17. They are an observational documentary series based in the HSE also one in the Irish army as we follow their work in the Lebanon.

Great stories - One offs and series

We want stories that take a significant and considered approach to state of the nation issues and delivers with the highest possible production values. We have one Landmark series commissioned for the Autumn 2016 - HSE IN A DAY , RTÉ is proposing an ambitious landmark series on how the HSE and its healthcare workers manage to overcome an enormous range of challenges every single day, in caring for our most precious resource: the health of our people.
We're are looking for cracking yarns with contemporary subjects and approaches, clearly-defined programmes with time and/or money clearly invested in them

Documentaries that offer exceptional access to the most incredible situation, place, subject or story. Each story should be - indirectly or directly - a parable or statement about life in Ireland now most importantly, they should have a direct impact on the person: these are people stories, real-life situations which get at the big issues and which should impact on viewers in a visceral way. A good example of this was My Homeless Family - we want stories that get to the heart of what people are experiencing in Ireland today.


We have a number of 1916 commemorative documentaries commissioned for this year, The Enemy Files, Letters of 1916, 1916, Children of the revolution and Seven women.

We are not seeking any other 1916 related projects and our focus for History will be to find appropriate proposals to submit for BAI.

As always, the aim is to bring new audiences to history via strong stories, directors, new formats, fresh perspectives, and often passionate and informed on-screen authors. Is there an historical event or story that speaks beyond its time to Ireland today?

* Budget: To a maximun of €130k

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Factual Sunday 21:30" & "Factual Monday 21:30"

*Please note budget ranges are indicative only, and proposals that can achieve lower costs per hour will be particularly attractive'.


RTE Arts

The arts on television will move centre-stage in 2014 and beyond, so we are looking mainly for big-idea pre-watershed arts series that will play in pre-watershed evening slots and appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Our mission over the next year is to build audiences for the arts by supplementing our post-watershed arts output with more pre-watershed arts. We are currently looking for imaginative ideas for 6 X 30" arts series that engage the public with Irish culture or a particular artform. Series such as CraftMaster and Instrumental have done this very successfully over the past few years - and now we are looking for new, pre-watershed formats and ideas with the arts at their core. We welcome ideas that have the potential to use RTE resources cleverly (TV, radio, online, our performing groups) to amplify their message and engage as wide an audience as possible. We are also open to strong, populist formats that tie in to or build up to a national arts event in 2014. Please note, however, that observational series do not work in early-evening slots. We would encourage production companies to come to us instead with ideas that encourage participation in the arts, whether that is participation on screen, or by highlighting a particular artform through campaign, activity, outreach or by just being enjoyable to watch. The series should be fun, entertaining, but content rich, and will be broadcast early evening so must appeal to a broad, soap-avoider audience.

Post-watershed documentary slots for TV Arts are already fully allocated in 2014, but we are happy to develop ideas that will come to fruition in 2015 and beyond. Single documentary should, where possible, come with a co-pro partner or funding attached. We want to prioritise Big Idea, landmark arts series and events which could play in post-watershed slots in late 2014 and beyond. Again, ideas that can benefit from external funding or co-production will be particularly welcomed.


Format Farm

We are always looking for ideas that can be developed or commissioned for Format Farm. For more information on Format Farm please click here


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.

RTÉ 2016
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