14 December 2017 The Irish Film & Television Network
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Irish Production Highlights on RTE This Christmas
06 Dec 2017 : Brendan Murphy
Brown Bag’s ‘Angela’s Christmas’, their heart-warming new animation based on Frank McCourt’s book and featuring the voices of Ruth Negga and Lucy O’Connell.

Baz Ashmawy and Nancy, go in search of one of Nancy’s heroes in a special new one-off, Baz and Nancy’s Holy Show, which sees the pair on a quest to see Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The perennial Christmas favourite, Brendan O’Carroll’s Mrs Brown’s Boys will be back with two Christmas specials.

Vico Films’ Senior Moments the comedy show in which seniors prank unsuspecting young folk also returns this Christmas for a three episode run.

Pure Class Productions’ Bridget & Eamon, Bridget works out that, with the widow’s pension and life assurance, Eamon would be worth more dead than alive.

‘Fairytale of New York’ – the song Shane MacGowan calls with some glee ‘the nastiest Christmas single ever’ – will be 30 years old. RTÉ marks the anniversary with a new documentary looking back at the making of Fairytale in the company of Shane MacGowan – who turns 60 on Christmas Day - as he reminisces about the writing of the song. Paul Simon, Billy Bragg, Christy Moore, Imelda May and Bob Geldof are among the musicians and songwriters interviewed, along with former members of The Pogues.

RTÉ’s Christmas specials over the holiday season include ‘Carols from the Castle’ on RTÉ One on Christmas Eve, hosted by Mary Kennedy in Dublin Castle for this festive musical treat, featuring Ralph McTell, MayKay, Rita Connolly and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy. Elsewhere for music fans, The Nathan Carter Christmas Special sees Ireland's favourite country star joined by a host of special guests for a night of music, dance and plenty of laughs for a festive episode of his show.  As well as performing duets with Spice Girl Melanie C and American singer Curtis Stigers, Nathan is joined by Una Healy, and his younger brother Jake Carter. In a special edition of Pat Shortt’s Music from d’Telly, Pat has been busy rummaging through the RTÉ Archive to share his very own Christmas music favourites. There's more nostalgia in Christmas Then and Now which sees Sinead Kennedy delve into the magical RTÉ Christmas archive unearthing gems including John B Keane reminiscing on his Christmas childhood in Kerry and actor Des Keogh discovering a 200 year old festive tradition in North County Dublin.

In a one-off Christmas special, Shinawil’s Celebrity Home of the Year will feature retired Leinster and Ireland rugby player Mike Ross, TV and radio presenter Eoghan Mc Dermott, writer Melissa Hill, broadcaster Lorraine Keane and Senator David Norris. Our judges -including new addition, award-winning architect Patrick Bradley - cast an expert eye over the homes. On Waddell’s At Your Service – To the Rescue, the Brennans are called to the village of Bruff, Co Limerick to fit out and furnish Ireland’s first purpose-built neighbourhood for people living with dementia.

On Donal’s Christmas Meals in Minutes, award-winning food writer and TV presenter Donal Skehan shows viewers how to reduce the long process of prepping and making your Christmas dinner by hours with his clever and simplified menu. Rory O’Connell brings a Christmas flavour to his popular series How To Cook Well with a selection of elegant dishes for cooks who want something a little different. And in the lead-up to Christmas week, join Today with Maura and Dáithí  live from Cork for a Christmas feast with celebrity chefs, wine experts and music to get you in the mood for the big day.

Join Darragh Maloney and Joanne Cantwell for the RTÉ Sport Awards 2017 live from Studio 1 for a celebration of Irish sport and the awarding of Sportsperson of the Year, Team of The Year and Young Sportsperson of the Year. Presenter Jacqui Hurley teams up with Ruby Walsh and Shane Byrne for a Christmas edition of Know the Score. They will be joined in studio by the Dub who scored the winning point in the All Ireland Football Final, Dean Rock; MMA coach, John Kavanagh; star of the Irish Women’s rugby team, Jenny Murphy; and the recently retired Irish soccer superstar, Kevin Doyle. And on St Stephen’s Day on RTÉ2, Robert Hall and Ted Walsh are joined by Brian Gleeson, Tom Lee, Tracy Piggott, Andy McNamara and Sally Ann Grassick for four days of live racing action from the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. Ireland's Fittest Family - All Star Coaches features a look behind-the-scenes of this year's final, as well as an extended hanging tough challenge. We find out what our all-star coaches - Donncha O' Callaghan, Davy Fitzgerald, Derval O' Rourke and Anna Geary - really think of each other, and what their families think of them! 

As the clock ticks towards 2018, The Imelda May New Year’s Eve Special, including The Corrs, The Strypes, Finbar Furey and Gavin James, and featuring the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, will get ready to ring in the New Year with a lively selection of performances and chat, followed by The New Year’s Eve Countdown Concert featuring Kodaline, live from Custom House Quay in the heart of Dublin.Plus the RTÉ News Review 2017 looks back on the stories that defined the year.

Each day in December, RTÉ will release a new 60 second short film on a special website, www.rte.ie/christmas, that documents Christmas in Ireland today, from a range of perspectives. Featuring people young and old, from all around the country, and from a range of faiths and background, the films will showcase touching stories of Christmases past and present. Joyful, touching, inspiring and sometimes sad, a selection of the interviews will form the core of a special two-part documentary, The Secret of Christmas, to be aired on RTÉ One.

RTÉ Player is loaded with a selection of box-sets for the festive season from the nostalgic to recent hits. The Irish drama collection includes The Clinic, Proof and Damage along with the entire first series of Striking Out, while Home & Away fans can binge on this years’ specials All or Nothing and Revenge.   Reality collections include Salon Confidential, Fade Street and Popstars and plenty of comedy with Hardy Bucks, The School and Bridget & Eamon. 

RTÉ will also be unwrapping plenty of new series in the early New Year including the hotly anticipated new series of Dancing with the Stars. Hit legal drama Striking Out starring Amy Huberman and Neil Morrissey, returns for a brand new series, with Moe Dunford (Vikings) and Maria Doyle Kennedy (Redwater) joining the cast. The Tommy Tiernan Show, which delighted audiences on its debut, returns this January for a longer run of 12 episodes. Plus there’s new series of the nation’s favourites, Operation Transformation and First Dates, and rugby star Tommy Bowe joins the presenting team of holiday series, Getaways.




BREAKING NEWS
€6.9 Million in Funding Has Gone into the AV Industries Since Creative Europe began in 2014
Olivier Martinez Joins Cast of Subotica’s Adventure Series ‘Soldiers of Fortune’
Christmas TV Premiere and Oscar Qualification for Derry Animation ‘An Béal Bocht’
Saoirse Ronan Nominated for SAG Award as ‘Three Billboards..’ leads list of Nominations

FEATURES & INTERVIEWS
‘Maze’ Director Stephen Burke talks IFTN through the Development, Finance & Filming of his latest Project
Box Office Success for 'Cardboard Gangsters'
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Statement from the Board of the Irish Film Board (IFB) on Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Power
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