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RTÉ One’s new drama Charlie to air on 4 January 2015
04 Dec 2014 : Seán Brosnan
RTÉ today announced that its new three-part drama, ‘Charlie’ will begin at 9.30pm on Sunday 4 January, 2015 on RTÉ One and run over three successive Sundays.

Written by Dublin-born award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Colin Teevan and directed by Kenny Glenaan and Charlie McCarthy, the drama based on real events explores the emergence of modern Ireland through charting the rise and fall of the charismatic and divisive figure of Charles J. Haughey. The drama covers the period from Charles J. Haughey’s bid for power in 1979 and chronicles his attempts to maintain that power until his departure from politics in 1992.

The ensemble cast includes Aidan Gillen (Charles J. Haughey), Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (PJ Mara), Risteárd Cooper (Dermot Nally), Peter O’Meara (Brian Lenihan), Gavin O’Connor (Sean Doherty) and Marcus Lamb (Des O’Malley). Also joining the cast is English actress Lucy Cohu (Terry Keane).

‘Charlie’ is produced for RTÉ by Touchpaper and Element Pictures and co-funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.

Writer Colin Teevan said: ‘I was not interested in writing a bio-pic or a drama-doc about Charles Haughey, what I wanted to do was tell a global story set in Ireland, one that was both local and international. I was interested in the dynamics of power: what the individual does with power and what power does to the individual. While it is set in an Irish context, it is about the nature and limits of democratic power, something that has resonance across the globe today.’

Rob Pursey, Executive Producer, Touchpaper said: ‘This is a drama that resonates beyond Ireland. It isn’t a history lesson, it’s a story about a man who dares to aspire to something and about the dangers of those aspirations being realised. The humour in the drama is also wielded subtly to shine a light on the subject of power and there are some brilliantly nuanced performances from the cast.’

Jane Gogan, Head of Drama, RTÉ Television said: ‘This is the first time that RTÉ Drama has commissioned a series about a political figure. In commissioning this drama we did not set out to be judgemental nor reverential, but rather to get beyond myth and caricature and endeavour to portray this political and public life in a way that would be a fair representation. Without the BAI Sound and Vision Fund it wouldn’t have been possible to make a series of this scale and ambition.’

Actor Aidan Gillen said: ‘I think initially the draw for me was simply that it was going to be a drama about Haughey, not having even seen a script, because he was a fascinating, divisive character and because, in a way, you know what people are going to be expecting, which gives a lot of scope to try and deliver something different.’

‘Charlie’ starts on RTÉ One on Sunday 4 January and each of the 90 minute episodes, airing over three successive Sundays, covers three distinct periods in Haughey’s political life. In Rise (1979-1981) Charles J. Haughey confounds his critics and succeeds in his bid to become Taoiseach, championed by a close circle of allies; in GUBU (1982) Haughey seizes his opportunity to regain power and to lead Ireland onto the stage of World politics; and in Fall (1989-1992) a bid for absolute power and a fitting legacy leaves him exposed as his enemies circle.

‘Charlie’ will also be available on RTÉ Player. A trailer for the show can be seen here:

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