TV3 unveils first drama series


TV3 is to unveil its first drama and first sitcom as part of its autumn schedule.

Deception cost €1.2 million to make and was half funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s (BAI) Sound and Vision Fund.

The six part series is set on a Celtic Tiger era housing estate on the outskirts of Galway which involves six families all of whom hide a secret. There is an overarching theme of a murder.

The series will star Leigh Arnold, Jim Norton, Conor Mullen and Vincent Walsh and each will be a one hour episode.

There is also a new six part sitcom called On the Couch with Barbara Bergin and Gary Cooke from Apres Match. The series features three couples having couples counselling.

TV3’s director of programming Ben Frow said he would rather spend the station’s money on homegrown content rather than big US deals.

TV3’s programming budget is approximately €20 million a year.

“We’re a terrestrial channel and we have a duty I believe to produce programmes across all genres,” he said.

“I hate being reliant on ITV. I don’t want a gun held to my head in terms of Coronation Street and Emmerdale. They are expensive.

“We’d like to think there would be a world when there is no Coronation Street or Emmerdale on TV3 and we have our own dramas doing similar types of numbers. I hope Deception does the business audience wise and we can do more drama and comedy.”

The autumn schedule will be underpinned by the return of the 1980s blockbuster series Dallas. Feuding brothers JR Ewing (Larry Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) will be joined by their feuding sons who carry on the family quarrel into a new generation.

John Ross Jr wants to drill baby drill for two billion barrels of oils under Southfork, Bobby’s son Christopher wants to put the money into renewable energy.

The ten part series starts on Monday, September 3rd for 10 weeks and TV3 will have it exclusively in Ireland as it is only being shown on Channel 5 in the UK which is not available in Ireland.

Two documentary series includes The Big House where participants try and recreate the life of a 19th century servant in Strokestown House and an Irish civil war series In the Name of the Republic will also feature in the new schedule.

The controversial series Tallafornia is back. This time the same cast returns with two new members. The series is being filmed in Santa Ponza. Dublin Wives, Take Me Out and Family Fortunes are also back as is The X Factor which is a critical part of the Saturday evening schedule.

Tonight with Vincent Browne retains its familiar late-night slot while Browne will tackle the big matters of faith in a six part series called Challenging God.

TV3’s advertising revenue was up between 3 per cent and 4 per cent this year.

“We have bucked the trend, but it is not anything like the return on the investment we would have got during the boom,” said commercial director Pat Kiely.

“This year our advertising revenue by the end of this year will be close to what it was pre-recession.”