Ahern to receive Mint TV treatment


HE MAY have stepped down as the taoiseach in May, but Bertie Ahern will still play a key role in RTÉ's autumn and winter schedule.

A new three-part documentary series, Bertie, is being made by Mint Productions, the company behind the 2005 Haugheydocumentary series which was founded by presenter Miriam O'Callaghan and producer Steve Carson.

The former taoiseach is taking part in the production with family members, friends and associates and commentators. It is still a "work in progress", according to RTÉ commissioning editor Kevin Dawson, who said the series would begin showing on November 3rd.

The documentary is one of more than 70 new home-produced series and programmes in RTÉ's new schedule, announced yesterday. Some 40 documentaries will be shown over the autumn and winter period.

They include a lavish three-part series, Cromwell in Ireland, presented by Dr Micheál Ó Siochru of Trinity College Dublin.

This uses battle recreations and computer-generated imagery in its analysis of the impact Oliver Cromwell had on Ireland in his nine-month military campaign in the late 17th century.

Cromwell was the "No 1 villain" in Ireland, yet his role had never been fully confronted by documentary makers, Mr Dawson said.

Other new documentaries include Charlie Bird's Arctic Journeyand The Real Mike Murphy, a two-part documentary series on the businessman and former RTÉ presenter.

A three-part series will chronicle life at the Rutland Centre for addicts, and the Future Shockseries will return with investigations into alcohol consumption and drinking water.

Six celebrities will trace their roots in Who Do You Think You Are?while Forbidden Loveexamines Ireland's secret fascination with the British Royal family.

Irish ballerina Monica Loughman will try to turn six hip-hop dancers into ballet dancers in her new Ballet Chancersseries and the role of GAA clubs in communities around Ireland will be analysed in the six-part Pride of the Parishseries.

The Fair Citysoap will receive a face-lift this autumn with a new title sequence, as well as new actors, writers and directors.

RTÉ Television's managing director Noel Curran said the new schedule was one of the most diverse ever, and it came at the end of a good year for the station.

"The scale and ambition of this new schedule reflects the huge energy that RTÉ Television, our programme makers and commissioning editors, along with our colleagues in the independent sector, have brought to the task of making home-produced programmes for a home audience," he said.