TG4 soap in SOS for Irish speakers


IT’S THE award-winning soap that has just received a boost to its ratings with a cameo appearance by Stephen Fry.

But Ros na Rún, TG4’s flagship drama series, is facing a crisis behind the scenes – there aren’t enough competent Irish speakers to star in it.

Programme-makers say the level of fluency among available actors is so poor that they are reluctant to consider killing off any characters. Producer Hugh Farley said when new characters are introduced, they have to resort to writing the part around the actor’s character, rather than the conventional method, because of the dearth of fluent actors available.

“It’s extraordinarily hard. There are about 28 cast members, but it’s getting harder and harder to find actors who speak Irish well enough to play new parts. Many people who apply for parts have ‘book Irish’, the Irish they learned at school, which is not the fluent, conversational Irish we need. The ‘book Irish’ just doesn’t have the correct rhythm. They can put the words in the right order, but conversationally they sound stilted.”

Farley, a Dubliner who lives in Spiddal, where the soap is filmed, said: “The only area where it’s relatively easy to recruit actors is women in their 20s.

“We have few problems finding good-looking young actresses who speak fluently. They seem to outnumber men of the same age by about four to one.”