Millennium Eve broadcast will be largest yet for RTE


RTE's largest single television broadcast takes place on New Year's Eve with a 24-hour millennium celebration.

Starting at 9.30 a.m. on December 31st, Millennium Eve - Celebrate 2000 will report on events at home and abroad, from the lighting of National Millennium Committee candles to a live concert at the foot of the pyramids.

RTE is one of 60 broadcasters participating in 2000 Today, the project co-produced by the BBC and WGBH Boston under which worldwide images are being pooled.

Ireland's contribution will include a specially composed piece of music by Donal Lunny, songs from Brian Kennedy and tunes from the world's top Celtic musicians, which will be performed live from Dublin and fed into the global broadcast.

Six presenters will host the RTE broadcast: Miriam O'Calla ghan, Mark Little, Geri Maye, Liz Bonnin, Joe Duffy and Pat Kenny, who will take charge for the countdown to midnight. Commentators include Bryan Dobson, Rachel English and Eamon Lawlor.

Among the highlights are coverage of the first midnight celebrations in the South Pacific and reports from Jerusalem and Nazareth. A further programme of music, song and reflection will be broadcast from the 14th century Abbey of Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, and Aras an Uachtarain.

Irish performers from Westlife to Joe Dolan will be joined by writers, actors, artists and sports people, among them Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle.

More than 500 people will be working on the RTE broadcast which is produced by Mr Noel Curran and forms the centrepiece of the station's millennium programming, which is headed by Mr Peter Feeney.

RTE will operate from three Dublin studios and four satellite outside broadcast units. In addition, it will take part in co-productions with BBC Northern Ireland.

TV3 will feature a series of updates on millennium celebrations throughout New Year's Eve, culminating in a countdown programme at 11.55 p.m. which will be followed by a broadcast of the pop group Pulp in concert.

TG4 is urging viewers to "laugh your way into the new millennium" with more than 10 hours of comedy in Irish and English. A Christmas episode of the channel's Donegal-based comedy drama, C.U. Burn, is followed at 11.55 p.m. by a special show, Mile Slan agus Mile Failte.