RTÉ broadcast of Iftas a badly produced shambles

TV Review: Noise of guests chattering loudly drowned out speeches

The RTÉ broadcast of the 11th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards (Iftas) on Saturday is one to file away under "I" for irony: the award ceremony which celebrates excellence in Irish television and film was a badly produced shambles.

Live awards shows are tricky: they run over and the Iftas ran an excruciating 25 minutes over. More importantly, they rely on guests being respectful of the hosts – no matter how cringeworthy the scripts – and being quiet when the awards are given out and received. Basically having some manners.

Except no one told the hundreds of dressed-up guests at the Iftas on Saturday night. They remained silent during the 10 minute intro from co-hosts Simon Delaney and Laura Whitmore – no laughing, no clapping – and then proceeded to chat among themselves at increasing volume for the rest of the night.

Their chatter, picked up on the mics, made the presenters almost impossible to hear – Whitmore seemed oblivious to the fiasco, Delaney looked progressively furious. No loss maybe – their banter was forced and unfunny – but it was a shame that the award introductions were nearly inaudible and that the acceptance speeches from the deserving (but sweaty – how hot was that function room!) award winners indecipherable.

Pecking order
The volume levels during the speeches revealed a pecking order: pin-drop silence for Brendan Gleeson, Michael Fassbender and President Michael D Higgins, a low background hum for Colin Farrell, Steve Coogan, Jamie Dornan, Jeremy Irons and Fionnula Flanagan and full-on chatter drowning out everyone else, including Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.


Add in some poor direction, uninspiring camera work, cornball ideas (Delaney took a selfie – mortifying, the co-hosts worked the tables – awkward) and it was a hard-to-watch embarrassment.

Saoirse Ronan’s father collected her award for best actress. She was at home, he said, eating a take-away. Smart girl. Even smarter if she wasn’t watching.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast