‘Rebellion’ TV series surrenders its hold on viewers

Ratings for RTÉ’s 1916-themed costume drama dropped off after its second episode

RTÉ drama ‘Rebellion’ starring Sarah Greene, Brian Gleeson, Charlie Murphy, Barry Ward and Ruth Bradley. The final episode will be broadcast on Sunday.

The viewer ratings for Rebellion, RTÉ's 1916-themed costume drama, dropped for its penultimate episode on Sunday night, which concluded with the sound of gunshots from the executions of the Easter Rising leaders.

The drama places the events of the Rising as the backdrop to the lives of its fictional characters.

An average of 487,600 viewers watched the fourth episode as it went out on RTÉ One or was recorded and viewed later that night, according to figures from TAM Ireland/Nielsen.

A further 51,300 viewers watched the same episode on the RTÉ One +1 channel.


Rebellion's audience has dropped since its first episode, which attracted an average of almost 619,000 viewers to RTÉ One on January 3rd. These first-episode ratings rose to 702,900 in the consolidated ratings, which include any playback of recordings viewed within seven days.

Rebellion's second episode drew a slightly higher audience, but ratings began to slide for the third.

The tally of viewers for the fourth episode is likely to climb in the consolidated ratings figure, while RTÉ Player streams and views to RTÉ One+1 will separately add to the total audience. The numbers watching late-night Saturday repeats of Rebellion on RTÉ One and the +1 channel have typically exceeded 100,000.

Second series

The final episode of the series, which has a budget of about €7 million, will be broadcast next Sunday.

RTÉ has yet to confirm that it will be commissioned for a second run, which if it goes ahead will air in 2018 and follow the characters through the War of Independence.

RTÉ considered several pitches from production companies for a 1916 drama before selecting Rebellion.

Written by Colin Teevan, who was also behind the Charles Haughey series Charlie, it was made for RTÉ by UK company Zodiak Media and its subsidiary, Touchpaper Television. US network SundanceTV helped Zodiak recoup its investment by signing on as a co-production partner.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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