Homeless choir series hits top note for RTÉ Global

‘The High Hopes Choir’ and ‘Rachel Allen’s Coastal Cooking’ sold to UKTV

RTÉ has sold two of its series, The High Hopes Choir and Rachel Allen's Coastal Cooking, to British digital broadcaster UKTV.

The High Hopes Choir, a three- part documentary made for RTÉ by Tyrone Productions, will be shown on UKTV's channel Really, while Allen's show is airing on the Good Food Channel, according to RTÉ Global, the programme sales and format division that brokered the deals.

Following a choir of homeless people who come together to record a charity single over the course of two months, The High Hopes Choir went out on RTÉ One last December and a follow-up documentary, Higher Hopes, has now been commissioned to look at what has happened to the choir and its members one year on.

"I'm sure that UKTV's viewers will find it as powerful and as moving as their Irish cousins," said RTÉ Global head of sales Edel Edwards.

The original series traced the journey from the choir's first discordant rehearsals to the recording of Kodaline's song High Hopes, led by conductor David Brophy. The choir also performed at a charity gala in Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral and were mentored along the way by Shane Filan, Niall Breslin and the guest star of last year's Late Late Toy Show, Ed Sheeran.

Rachel Allen's Coastal Cooking, made for RTÉ by Liverpool Street Productions and a key element in RTÉ One's current autumn schedule, is "part travelogue, part cookery show", with the west of Ireland showcased alongside Allen's recipes.

Over the past year, RTÉ Global has focused on helping the broadcaster secure the new co-production and co-funding initiatives it needs to step up its drama and scripted comedy production.

Last month, it announced that Robert Redford's SundanceTV had come on board as a co-production partner on Rebellion, a five- part 1916 commemoration series that will be shown on RTÉ One in January 2016.

Rebellion, which has been made for RTÉ by Zodiak Media and Zodiak's subsidiary Touchpaper Television, is likely to be screened in the US as a result of the Sundance deal.

"There are winners and losers, loves and losses," according to RTÉ Global's blurb for Rebellion, which RTÉ Television managing director Glen Killane hopes to bring back for a second series – depending on the reaction of viewers.

“It’s the first drama in many years that we have actually brought in a significant international partner on funding,” he told a Broadcasting Authority of Ireland event at the Cork Film Festival.

“What we are trying to do is use the licence fee to attract inward investment more and more.”

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics