Group Head of Factual: Sean Mac Giolla Phadraig

Updated: 16th April 2018

Factual Briefing Thursday 10th May 2018

RTÉ would like to invite Producers/Production Companies to attend a "Factual briefing session". This session will give Producers an overview of the structure of the new Factual Group; an insight into key slots and the Group's strategy for the next three years. Producers will also be given an outline of available slots in 2019/20 along with commissioning briefs in each of the Group's pillar areas.

Date and time: Thursday 10th May @ 9am.

Location: The Clayton Burlington Hotel (formerly Burlington hotel)

Registration will be in Meeting Rooms 1 & 2 from 8a.m, with a light breakfast available until 8.30a.m.

The event will start promptly @ 9.00. (NB: No admittance after 8.45).

Registration: We are asking producers to register and only registered participants will be admitted. Registration is strictly two participants per company - please note that if more than two attend on the day we will not be able to accommodate them. As spaces are strictly limited it is advisable that you register early.

How to register: Please email michelle.kenny@rte.ie.

The event will end at 12.00. We look forward to seeing you there!



RTÉ Factual is looking for ideas for a small number of Sunday night and Monday night slots in the Autumn of 2018.

Monday Nights

The Monday night 9:30pm slot is RTÉ's highest profile and most important slot. It's where we aim to tell the story of Ireland. Great storytelling and high-end production values are at the heart of everything that has succeeded in this slot. Ideas that work here will have a universal appeal, a creative, popular treatment and also have something to say about Ireland in 2018.

Budget range: ¤120,000 - ¤130,000 per hour (Maximum) for RTÉ One

We are open to ideas for one-offs and short series (up to two parts) in the following areas:

Films with heart - what has resonated incredibly well with our audience in recent years have been documentaries that have revealed something about human experience - both to the audience and to the documentary's subjects themselves. Docs like Golden: Our Fifty Years of Marriage; Too Old For The Road; Older Than Ireland; We Won the Lotto. We would be interested in more ideas with layered human interest at their core. These are directors' docs that need a filmic treatment - where the storytelling and production values are as sometimes as important as the subject. They need to be well cast and will need a strong, but invisible hand in the production.

National treasures - docs like Micko; Giles; This is Christy; and Fairytale of New York have played very strongly with our audience and have also had an added element of punch through. Featuring the story of someone who is universally loved is one thing, doing that story justice is another. Each of these documentaries succeeded in this. We would be interested in more documentary ideas where the appeal of the subject is apparent, but where we also have a compelling vision for the doc.

Finding the story in current events - docs like My Homeless Family; The Crossing; We Need to Talk About Dad; Ireland's Property Crisis; The Undocumented have all managed to take an 'issue' and find the story in it, turning what could have been current affairs light into high-end documentary. We'd be interested in other doc ideas that can also do this - by adopting either a human-centred approach or an innovative storytelling approach. We're not looking for authored reports at this moment, unless the author has a deep and personal connection with the subject matter.

Popular consumer stories - docs like Sugar Crash; and One Day: How Ireland Eats have shown that there is an enormous appetite for docs that take a consumer feature and give it an intelligent and popular treatment. We would be open any ideas in this area.

Cracking yarns - some stories just need to be told. You know them. We'll know them when we see them.

Preference will be given to ideas that are deliverable on time and on budget and which have a clear appeal for a younger (under 45) audience.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system: https://e-commissioning.rte.ie/SWIFT.Web/skins/rte/login.aspx under the programme category Factual - Monday Autumn 2018


Returnable Franchises for RTÉ 2

Factual is seeking new proposals to build on and broaden the recent slate of successful documentary output on RTÉ 2, ideally in the space of returnable franchises. The channel has recently carried a number of strong factual offerings, including The Guards, The Notorious Conor McGregor and Padraic Nally: After the Headlines. These programmes brought muscular storytelling skills to a range of intriguing characters, precincts, and themes. We are now looking for a series of new topics and stories, which can bring significant mainstream audiences to RTÉ 2.

Propositions that offer escapist or stirring stories will be of interest, along with other factual ideas, which say something important or powerful about contemporary life. One-offs will be considered, but we are particularly interested in propositions that can go to series, based on access to fascinating locations and/or charismatic characters.

Tonally, these can range from lighter factual, and colourful contemporary impulses - for example in the spheres of Property, Money, Relationships and Health - to more sober or gritty aspects of modern life - for example in the area of law enforcement, or public controversies.

Tonally, the aim of these commissions is to either offer dramatic documentary series with great story-telling and which have humanity at their heart, or to provide our audience with lighter more escapist and fun stories and formats which provide insight into life in modern Ireland and compliment what we offer on RTÉ ONE post-watershed.

Budget range: €80,000- €90,000 per hour (Maximum) for RTÉ2

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'.



Further to the recent call for ideas for Factual, we are interested in proposals on how Brexit will impact on Ireland. There is an opportunity to access co-funding from European partners, on this topic, for a one-off documentary to play on RTÉ ONE.

Editorially, we are interested in a variety of options, but ideally the programme will capture the core significance and impact of Brexit on Ireland. This can cover some or all of a number of areas - such as economics, politics, culture and identity.

In practical terms, the programme needs to lend itself to rebroadcast/revoicing for European transmission, so no front-of-camera talent/presenter/author will be required, and while the programme needs to capture the mood in contemporary Ireland, it needs to be compiled in a way that will be understood by European audiences. Budgets should be within the standard parameters.




Assistant Commissioning Editor Arts - Aifric Ní Chianain

RTÉ Television's mission for arts programmes is to grow audiences for and participation in the arts and to document and build a national archive of today's creative leaders for tomorrow. Most television arts output plays on RTÉ One, in peak-time slots: 7.30pm on Sunday, 8.30pm on Monday, 9.35pm on Monday and 10.15 on Thursday.
We invite independent production companies to submit ideas for high-impact peak-time arts series, events and formats that enable ordinary people to make, do and/or participate; landmark post-watershed arts series; ambitious anchor projects for themed seasons/weeks; and ideas for arts events or series to mark key moments and anniversaries. Specifically:

Pre-watershed arts formats. From amateur drama to singing, from painting to craft and design, we want to get the nation's creative juices flowing. We'd like ideas for participative, access-based formats or campaigns that RTÉ can support across TV, digital and radio - and which work for mass audiences in peak-time slots. We particularly welcome projects that involve partnerships with national organisations, arts institutions and networks.

Ideas for themed weeks, seasons and events. We'd love to do for the arts what Big Week On The Farm did for science. Can you think of a way to create a high-impact national cultural event that is big enough and impactful enough for RTÉ One to clear its schedule every night for a week? A national RTÉ-led cultural project, live event, experiment, challenge or celebration that will get the nation talking, sharing and taking part?

Post-watershed landmark arts series: big subjects, big ambitions, which bring (or have potential to bring) major co-funding to the table.

Authored arts documentaries and series where passionate, knowledgeable presenters open up the arts or Irish culture for a mainstream audience. The presenter has to have a deep knowledge of and passion for the subject. The credibility of the presenter, richness of content and freshness of perspective are key. A good recent example is A Fanatic Heart: Bob Geldof on WB Yeats, genuine passion-project for a presenter with a deep knowledge of his subject and a strong reason for wanting to make the programmes. We seek more innovative or landmark arts projects fronted by strong personalities with something fresh, provocative and insightful to say about Irish culture, music and heritage.

Anniversaries: is there an anniversary, celebration, national event or key national moment coming up that an arts series or event can mark or amplify in some way? We welcome arts-based ideas that help ordinary people to engage with major anniversaries and events.

Please note that, while standout single documentaries will always be commissioned, our in-house team is making up to 20 biographical arts documentaries a year, so the schedule is already well-served in terms of documenting the arts leaders of today, and tomorrow.

We very much welcome projects that involve partnerships between RTÉ and national cultural institutions or organisations. And, given that budgets are always a challenge, we also welcome projects that have the potential or scale to bring other sources of funding to the table. However, submissions will always be judged first and foremost on the quality of the idea and the content, and the potential of the project to engage audiences and/or create impact.

We ask, in the first instance, that producers submit ideas into the eCommissioning system:
under the programme category "Arts - General"


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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