TG4 aims to be as Irish answer to HBO with ‘Celtic Noir’

Prominent showing for women’s rugby to continue on autumn schedule

Irish women’s rugby stars Niamh Briggs and Maria Louise Riley with Gráinne McElwain of TG4 (centre). Photograph: Bryan Brophy/1Image Photography

Irish women’s rugby stars Niamh Briggs and Maria Louise Riley with Gráinne McElwain of TG4 (centre). Photograph: Bryan Brophy/1Image Photography

Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 01:00

A tenacious journalist returning to take on a corrupt judiciary, a lifeboat crew in possession of a boatload of illegal drugs and Ireland’s women rugby heroes were among the highlights of the TG4 autumn schedule launch in Dublin yesterday.

Corp & Anam, starring Diarmuid de Faoite as a TV journalist trying to keep his professional life on track as his personal life falls apart, returns for a second series in one of a number of dramas that the broadcaster says fall under the “Celtic Noir” category.

“I think TG4 has a a right to call itself the Irish HBO,” de Faoite said. “This is really strong piece of writing and we have been really helped by technological advances. It is amazing what can be achieved with a smaller budget.”

‘Superb writing’

“The writing is superb and deals with paedophilia, planning corruption and how the legal system is abused. I only saw the whole series this week and the first thing I said after watching it was ‘when does season three start’?”

An Bronntanas is a new thriller set against the backdrop of the Connemara coastline, where a lifeboat crew happen upon a boat laden with drugs.

Reluctant to leave the gift horse behind, the crew do the wrong thing and ensure they enter a whole world of pain and trouble.

The support shown by TG4 to women’s sport was hailed by the Irish women’s rugby team vice-captain and kicker Niamh Briggs, who was part of the line-out at the launch.

“The channel has been a great supporter of women’s sport and they took a gamble on us when they bid for the rights to show our games when there wasn’t much interest elsewhere,” she said.

“I hope it paid off for them when close to 500,000 tuned in to watch our World Cup semi-final against England.”

Six Nations

While it was all smiles yesterday, the hurt of the loss against the old enemy in that semi-final still rankles and she said she was looking forward to the Six Nations kicking off in the new year when the team would have the opportunity to right the wrong.

TG4 also unveiled original, and what it called provocative, documentaries across a wide span of historical, social and whimsical topics.

It plans to trace the story of the Irish man who established professional wrestling as a major entertainment attraction in the US, the unique Waterford bread that now has EU brand protection, memories of the big freeze of 1947 and a look at the serious rise in domestic violence against women in Ireland.

First World War

There will be a major European-wide perspective on the first World War based on the diaries of participants from all the combatant countries, a fresh approach for TV traditional music, surprises for some prominent people – including Alan Dukes – about what made news on the day they were born, a series that reveals how we are surrounded by folk superstitions and ancient magic

There will also be Gaelic games and Pro-12 rugby coverage as well as Ros na Rún returning for a 19th season.

Fans have been told they can expect all manner of wrangling, gossip, love stories and the banter that is the daily stuff of social activity in shops, clubs and pubs throughout the country.