TV3 soap ‘Red Rock’ watched by 323,000 viewers

The show was the 10th most-popular programme on Irish television on Wednesday

Actors Pandora McCormick (left), Jack Nolan, Adam Weafer and Cathy Belton, in character as Claire, Michael, David and Susan Hennessy on TV3 soap ‘Red Rock’.

TV3's €7 million new soap opera Red Rock was watched by an average of 323,000 viewers on its debut on Wednesday night, marking a good start for the programme.

The twice-weekly soap, which is being promoted with a high-profile outdoor advertising campaign, saw its audience peak at 371,000.

According to the TAM Ireland / Nielsen overnight ratings, Red Rock was the 10th most popular television programme in Ireland last night, with soap operas Fair City, Coronation Street and Emmerdale all attracting a higher live viewership.

Emmerdale, which is now broadcast on UTV Ireland, was just narrowly ahead, however, in ninth place with an average audience of 325,000. Coronation Street, the seventh most watched programme last night, was viewed by 364,000 people, while another soap, EastEnders on RTÉ One, was in eighth place with 361,000 viewers.


The most-watched soap opera was RTÉ One's Fair City, with a viewership of 569,000. It was the third most-watched show, behind RTÉ's two main news bulletins. The return of RTÉ's lifestyle series hit Operation Transformation, which overlaps with Red Rock in the scheduling, attracted 465,000 viewers, with two more RTÉ programmes, the Lotto results and Nationwide in fifth and sixth place.

Red Rock, which revolves around a Garda station and two warring families in a fictional Dublin suburb, is a key part of TV3's "New Dawn" schedule, which it hopes will bring in enough advertising revenues to compensate it for the loss of the two UK soaps to UTV Ireland.

The new drama, which is produced by Element Pictures and Company Pictures, will air for 40 weeks a year on Wednesday and Thursdays at 8.30pm. TV3 said an additional 18,300 people had viewed the soap on the TV3 +1 channel and that it was already the most-watched soap episode on its catch-up service, 3Player.

TV3 director of content Jeff Ford has said he expects ratings for the soap to follow a "J" curve, with the initial interest tapering off for a period before it begins to build a strong, loyal audience.

The broadcaster has commissioned 160 episodes of Red Rock to date, and 60 of these have already been scripted, according to creator and showrunner Peter McKenna. The Irish Times television critic Bernice Harrison praised the first episode, saying it got off to "a rollicking good start".

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

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