– New talent & brand-new shows promise the very best in entertainment
– Over 40 hours of gripping new Irish drama
– Most free-to-air sport available to audiences in Ireland
RTÉ today launched its new season of programming. With exciting new formats, the new season promises up-and-coming stars in the making, hours of unmissable homegrown drama, and the return of firm favourites to our screens. From sport to new entertainment formats, drama to young people’s programming – RTÉ is the place for entertainment and escapism this new season.
In new drama, Kin starring Clare Dunne, Aidan Gillen & Ciarán Hinds, while Hidden Assets features Angeline Ball, Simone Kirby and Peter Coonan. Following its international success, Smother is back for a second series with its formidable Ahern family, starring Dervla Kirwan, Gemma Leah-Devereux and Seána Kerslake. Other new dramas include Harry Wild, starring Jane Seymour, comedy-drama series The Dry, and Conversations with Friends based on the book by Sally Rooney (author of Normal People).
In entertainment, Last Singer Standing is a brand-new talent series fronted by Nicky Byrne. The Late Late Show will be heading towards celebrating 60 years on air in 2022, while Angela Scanlon debuts her brand-new entertainment show Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything on Saturday nights. And a new season of The Tommy Tiernan Show returns with a Christmas special.
With a focus on championing new Irish talent, the upcoming season will showcase new and alternative voices across entertainment, drama and sport. And this season, RTÉ will continue to focus on telling Ireland’s stories, tackling the issues that matter with a broad slate of factual and current affairs content.
RTÉ is the home of quality Irish drama. Almost 40 hours of brand-new drama will be delivered to audiences between September 2021 and Summer 2022. A highlight is the new Irish crime drama Kin, which follows the lives of a fictional Dublin family embroiled in a gangland war. Filmed in Dublin, it features a stellar cast of Irish actors including Clare Dunne, Aidan Gillen, Ciarán Hinds, Sam Keeley, Emmett Scanlan, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and newcomer Yasmin Seky. The eight-part series has already been acquired by a number of international outlets.
Following its enormous success earlier this year, Smother is back for a second series. Written by Kate O’Riordan and filmed in County Clare, it continues the gripping tale of the Ahern family, featuring Dervla Kirwan as family matriarch Val, with Gemma-Leah Devereux, Niamh Walsh, and Seána Kerslake.
Angeline Ball features along with Peter Coonan in the crime drama Hidden Assets, filmed in Limerick. It follows the link between a wealthy Irish family, a stash of rough diamonds, and a series of deadly bombings in Belgium.
Filmed in Dublin earlier this year, Harry Wild is a drama mystery series about a recently retired English professor who takes an active interest in the criminal cases assigned to her police detective son. It stars Jane Seymour, who also executively produced the eight-episode series.
This year we can also look forward to a series of quality RTÉ co-productions, including comedy-drama series The Dry written by Nancy Harris and Conversations with Friends based on the book by Sally Rooney (author of Normal People). A powerful drama series Three Families tells the compelling stories of real lives impacted by Northern Ireland’s formerly restrictive abortion laws.
Viewers can also look forward to plenty more action from Ireland’s favourite drama Fair City, with the residents of Carrigstown continuing to share their lives with us every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings
RTÉ Radio 1 continues to support the development of new writing talent through Drama on One and aims to give a voice to those from diverse communities living in Ireland to tell their own stories. A renewed focus on radio drama this year will also support new talent with opportunities for rising stars to showcase their work.
With a new drama every week, Drama on One this year includes a Maeve Binchy Season, featuring a series of five of Maeve’s plays written specifically for radio, and with some of Ireland’s best-known acting talent taking part. The season will be complemented with a digital hub on RTÉ Player devoted to Maeve’s radio drama, with commentaries and features, including Maeve’s memorable public interview with Myles Dungan at the National Concert Hall.
Also featured is Wrong Number by Lucille Fletcher. Tony-award winning director and Artistic Director of Druid Theatre Company, Garry Hynes, directs the 1943 radio play that became a film noir thriller.
RTÉ Player will feature plenty of fresh box sets of top drama titles including Irish drama Dublin Murders, the chilling Dublin-based psychological thriller following the investigation of a child’s murder. Viewers can enjoy a range of Irish drama such as, Smother, Love/Hate, The South Westerlies, Pure Mule, Striking Out and Acceptable Risk.
Saturday night highlights will include Last Singer Standing hosted by Nicky Byrne, a new format karaoke-inspired game show where singers from around Ireland compete to win a €25,000 prize. Pop superstars Nadine Coyle, Joey Fatone and Samantha Mumba will be joining the show as panelists, offering their expert opinions and advice throughout the series. Also new for Saturday nights is Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything, which promises plenty of surprises and revelations when Angela chats with guests who have agreed to be asked about absolutely anything!
Glow Up Ireland sees Maura Higgins challenge Ireland’s best amateur make-up artists to compete against each other, and the two judges putting the contestants through their paces are industry professionals Cathyanne Mac Allister and Emma O’ Byrne, while Hell Week – The Professionals sees 18 of Ireland’s fittest from the world of sport and entertainment take on the gruelling physical and mental challenge, which has a 90% failure rate.
With a significant increase in Irish-language programming, the national psyche is the theme of GAFA, a new Irish-language series about the things that Irish people just can’t seem to stop talking about. From our obsession with the Irish weather – GAFA leis an Aimsir – to our endless curiosity about the Royal Family – GAFA leis na Royals – GAFA takes a unique look at the things that are always part of the national conversation. RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta will be resuming its full coverage of International, national and local programmes.
RTÉ continues to provide much-needed entertainment that brings us together, and this year will be heading towards celebrating 60 years of The Late Late Show. A new season of The Tommy Tiernan Show returns with a Christmas Special while Today with Maura and Dáithí celebrates 10 years of lively afternoon chat and entertainment. New presenter Emer O’Neill, formerly of Home School Hub, is joining Dáithí and Maura while Sinéad Kennedy takes maternity leave.
More of Ireland’s favourite entertainment shows return, include Soundtrack to my Life, hosted by Bressie, and a new series of DIY SOS with Baz Ashmawy. The Style Counsellors with Suzanne Jackson is also back; Suzanne will be joined by some leading lights of the fashion industry giving their top tips including the fabulous style queen, Eileen Smith.
Entertainment continues on RTÉ Radio 1 with Mise Freisin, a playful genre-bending music showcase presented by Ray Cuddihy, showcasing the common features shared between traditional Irish music, Irish folk music, and Irish hip hop. Brenda Donoghue takes to the road again in Like Family, looking at life through the eyes of ordinary Irish families. And over on RTÉ 2FM the new breakfast show with Doireann, Donncha and Carl gets each day off to a bright and sunny start for listeners.
RTÉ launched a new initiative this season to look for original breakthrough comedy talent, ensuring audiences see and hear new faces first on RTÉ. We’re on a mission to uncover new comedy talent with a showcase series that will allow up and coming acts to have their moment in the spotlight and share their talent.
There are some familiar faces returning too: The 2 Johnnies are back for another series with their outrageous musings and Oliver Callan will bring more laughs with Callan Kicks on both TV and Radio, sharing his unique satirical take on Irish and International faces making the news. And in his new show, The Years – Callan will recreate key events in Irish history, with reaction to these events from contemporary characters. Also featuring on RTÉ Player will be Cork woman Sinéad Quinlan, with her unique and quirky look at everyday life, following on from her successful series, Seriously, Sinéad?.
Young People’s Programming
Storybud is a brand-new series where some famous faces – including Jason Byrne and Doireann Garrihy – re-tell some well-known children’s stories, with a bit of a twist. Other highlights include the film X marks the spot – a new kid’s comedy-drama written by Carol Walsh and directed by Hugh O’Conor, and The Imagination Machine, which features an incredible mix of live-action & CGI. Will Sliney’s Storytellers will look at the world-famous comic book artist Will Sliney and a host of amazing never before seen characters in this new art show with a difference.
RTÉ will have the largest selection of free-to-air sport available to audiences in Ireland, across TV, radio, and online, enabled by strategic partnerships with TG4 and Virgin Media, delivering the best value for the licence fee. Highlights include Six Nations, GAA club championships, Champions League, men’s and women’s World Cup qualifiers, Autumn Internationals, FAI Cup, SSE Airtricity league, and Horse Racing. We’ll bring you the agonies and the ecstasies, from Irish teams on the world stage to local teams representing the parish. We promise a jam-packed schedule of local and national events and collectively, sharing every riveting moment.
Full details of all RTÉ Sport programming will be announced in early September to coincide with the start of 2021/ 22 United Rugby Championship (URC) season, which will premiere on RTÉ.
RTÉ’s factual series and documentaries this season will offer a broad and diverse range of both hard-hitting and heart-warming content for viewers. We’ll be tackling the subjects that need talking about, taking an honest snapshot of how we all live, work, and play, and celebrating our uniqueness with a look at the things and people we love. Highlights will include: Keelin Shanley: Faraway, Still Close, a documentary on the late Keelin Shanley; Cocooned, which looks at how our older generation “cocooned” during the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic; and Ireland’s Dirty Laundry, which hears from those who worked in Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries.
Full details of the RTÉ factual schedule will be revealed this Sunday via print, online, on-air, and on RTE.ie.
Arts and Culture
A special series with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will showcase new arrangements of the music of David Bowie.
RTÉ lyric fm features Taking Flight, a newly commissioned series of audio meditations on the work of Patrick Kavanagh which will be broadcast on Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime. Also, a new series of The Lyric Feature begins with Green White Enamel on the life and work of the poet, Ethna McCarthy. The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott presents the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra 2021-2022 season commencing on September 10th at 7pm.
A series of documentaries including one featuring Brian Friel and another on Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin as well as a special documentary to mark 100 years of Ulysses will be showcased this coming season.
Full details of the RTÉ’s Arts & Culture schedule will be announced in early September.
Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ said “Today we unveiled a selection of programming for the months ahead with a particular focus on drama and entertainment which will see 40 hours of local Irish drama come to our screens in the coming months and in early 2022. Along with new entertainment shows and formats, we will welcome new faces and voices on our air as we support and seek out new Irish talent. We will tell Ireland’s story with a compelling slate of factual and current affairs output, programmes for young people, multi-platform arts and culture output and of course even more from RTÉ Sport, the definitive home of free-to-air sport in Ireland. This new season makes a compelling case for the need to sustain public service broadcasting, for our current generations and the generations to come.”