RTÉ unveils autumn schedule


Two new afternoon programmes, a drama about Bob Geldof and Live Aid and the search for Ireland’s best volunteer have been announced for RTÉ’s autumn schedule.

The Afternoon Show, which was marred by allegations of bullying, is being replaced by a lifestyle programme presented by Maura Derrane called 4 Daily which will be followed by the more topical 4.50 Live presented by Claire Byrne and Daithi O’Sé.

Journalist Brendan O’Connor will get a full series of The Saturday Night Show  after presenting a strand of it last year.

A six-part documentary series called From Here to Maternity  about a maternity hospital, the five-part The Story of Ireland,  a co-production with the BBC, a three-part series on organised crime and a two-part documentary on Ireland’s banking collapse will also feature this autumn.

There will also be a documentary about Phoebe Prince, the Irish schoolgirl who died by suicide in the US in January following a campaign of bullying, one about gifted children, another about former US president John Kennedy’s visit to Ireland presented by Ryan Tubridy and also one following the new generation of Irish emigrants.

The popular Reeling in the Years  series will be brought up to date by covering the Noughties.

The public will also be asked to vote on Ireland’s Greatest Person.  The final five involved will be John Hume, Michael Collins, Bono, James Connolly and Mary Robinson.

Overall, there will be 52 new home-produced series and documentaries for the autumn season.

The drama schedule includes a four part series set in Dublin’s gangland called Love/Hate, Wild Decembers,  a story written by Edna O’Brien and Hardy Bucks,  set among twenty somethings in rural Ireland. Raw  and  Single-Handed, a co-production with ITV, also return.

When Harvey Met Bob  is a feature-length documentary about the circumstances in which entertainment impresario Harvey Goldsmith and Bob Geldof organised Live Aid, the biggest music event ever.

The reality television strand will include The Model Scouts,  to find a new face for IMG, one of the biggest modelling agencies in the world and Dirty Old Towns  will clean up some of Ireland’s dirtiest towns.

A new initiative for children’s television will be announced in the autumn.

RTÉ Television managing director Glen Killane said the broadcaster had managed to provide more factual programming, more entertainment and more drama despite the recession. “That has been made possible by rigorous cost-management with all available resources concentrated on programme-making,” he said.