Patrick Freyne: Celebrity red carpet traffic jam - and the Iftas

Notable winners include Sharon Horgan, Baz Ashmawy and Brendan O’Carroll

Brendan O’Carroll was among the big winners at this year’s Ifta Gala Television Awards held last night (Thurs), when he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards have now shifted to a new, non-live two-part format (the film awards were held back in May). The ceremony in Dublin was hosted by TV presenter Amanda Byram and airs tonight (Friday) on TV3.

Notable award recipients included Sharon Horgan as writer and actress for Catastrophe ("I'm not Sharon Horgan," explained her brother as he collected the award), Baz Ashmawy who won the Entertainment Award for Fifty Ways to Kill Your Mammy, and Brendan O'Carroll.

Most prolific

The most prolific winner was TV3’s very good new soap opera Red Rock, with a total of three awards.


Earlier there was a celebrity traffic jam on the red carpet. Photographers on step ladders shouted at young women in diaphanous dresses. Corralled journalists asked questions like "What are you wearing?" The red carpet is the only place in Ireland where the phrase "What are you wearing?" doesn't come with a sarcastic stress on the word "what".

Imelda May, attending with her Dad, laughed and said "You'll have to read the label."

“I’m not really in the telly world,” May, the host of an eponymous music show, explained “so this is different for me… I’m not sure if I even want to do telly. I’ll get slated for saying that… I’m just interested in Irish bands being on television.”

High five

Amanda Byram came by in a long two piece “wedding dress” that required an assistant to run behind her holding the train. One of the Jedwards high-fived Bill Cullen, which is as good as it gets for me. “Are you selling them a car, Bill?” called a wag.

Telly people are busy people. Miriam O’Callaghan was fitting the awards ceremony in with a “school thing”, the launch of the Laura Lynn hospice and hosting an instalment of Prime Time. “I do think it’s important for peers to support each other,” she said. “Maybe I should wear this dress on Prime Time later?”

RTÉ deputy director general, Kevin Bakhurst, said the Iftas were "really important for the industry and it's great for the team to get awards".

But what if his programmes don’t win? “We keep our frustration quiet,” he said.

O’Carroll was presented with his Lifetime Achievement award by Gay Byrne. At this stage he has won many awards. “It means more because it’s home,” he said.

“The rest of the world wouldn’t be aware of how hard we worked to get where we are. They think we just popped up. But everyone in this country is aware how long it took us and how much work we put into it.

“For someone to say ‘Well done,’ means an awful lot.”

Does he usually enjoy this sort of thing?

“When I was nominated at the Baftas,” said O’Carroll, “it was the second category up, so we watched the rest of it on telly in our pyjamas in our hotel room.”

Maybe he should have worn pyjamas tonight?

“How do you know I’m not under this?”

The Awards

Female performance in a soap or comedy — Sharon Horgan for Catastrophe (Channel 4)

Documentary – Close to Evil (RTÉ)

Reality TV – Connected (RTÉ)

Live event — Fleadh TV (TG4)

News — The Death of Ian Paisley (BBC Newsline)

Animation — Lily’s Driftwood Bay

Children and Young Peoples – Our Farm (RTÉ)

Editing – Mick Mahon for Rough Rider (RTÉ)

Camera — Colm Whelan for Áille an Uafáis/A Terrible Beauty

Director – Liam McGrath for Delores Keane, Storm in the Heart (RTÉ)

Irish language – Corp is Anam (TG4)

Director, Soap – Lisa Mulcahy for Red Rock (TV3)

Sound – Ceolchuairt

Writer in a soap or comedy – Sharon Horgan for Catastrophe (Channel 4)

Factual — Wild Ireland (RTÉ)

Specialist factual — Cumann na mBan — Mná na Réabhlóide

Current Affairs – The RTE Investigations Unit for Inside Bungalow 3 (RTÉ)

Sport – Arkle the Legend Lives On (RTÉ)

Actor in a soap or comedy – Enda Oates for Fair City (RTÉ)

Camera, television – Colm Whelan for Áille an Uafáis (TG4)

Comedy – Mrs Brown’s Boys (RTÉ/BBC)

Documentary Series – The High Hopes Choir (RTÉ)

People’s Choice TV Show of the Year – Red Rock (TV3)

Soap — Red Rock (TV3)

Patrick Freyne

Patrick Freyne

Patrick Freyne is a features writer with The Irish Times