7 October 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Over 600,000 Irish viewers tune in to final instalment of Brendan Grace: Thanks for the Memories
16 Oct 2019 : Nathan Griffin
Brendan Grace - Thanks for the Memories
RTÉ has revealed that Irish audiences tuned in to the show in their droves last night to bid a fond farewell to legendary funnyman Brendan Grace in an emotional final episode of Brendan Grace Thanks for the Memories on RTÉ One.

The programme was watched by an average of 421,600 viewers and had a reach of 684,300 and a share of 35%.  The series has been streamed over 43,000 times on RTÉ Player.

In February of this year, Brendan Grace set out on a challenge. He decided to return to the Olympia for one night only - with a variety show with a difference. He devised a stage show with the Forget-Me-Nots choir and a number of his showbiz friends and planned to document the journey to opening night. However the story took a sad turn when tragedy stuck and Brendan became ill and suddenly the series went from a documentary about a man fighting to put on a show, to the story of a man fighting for his life.

Sadly Brendan lost his cancer battle but the story didn’t end there. He continued to film right up until his final breath and was determined that the show would go on.  And it did! The final episode in the three-part series saw Brendan’s family rally together after his death to ensure that the biggest show in town went ahead.  The episode saw his family, showbiz friends and the Forget-Me-Nots choir all come together to organise a tribute concert to say goodbye to one of the greatest Irish entertainers of all time.

Reflecting on the series, producer/director Brian Reddin told IFTN:

“Making this series has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my television career. It’s also been one of the saddest. Losing Brendan halfway through the production was devastating but being able to document the legacy he left behind has been humbling. He was an amazing man and we all miss him terribly, but he’ll be smiling from ear to ear somewhere at the response to the series and the incredible viewing figures are a testament to his honesty and bravery in continuing with the show, even though his own life was slipping away.”

“I am thrilled with the reaction from everyone I meet and the response from critics and audiences alike has been overwhelming. When Brendan passed, everyone got behind this project to make sure it got finished and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of his family, Eileen, Amanda, Melanie, Bradley, Brendan Patrick and Frank Gillespie. The commissioning team in RTE was also a huge support and sensitive to everyone’s needs, thanks to Kathy Fox, Grainne McAleer and Sean Mac Giolla Phadraig.”

“Of course Brendan was the heart of the series, but the big warm hug around him was the Forget-Me-Nots choir, an inspiring bunch of people who graciously shared their stories with the country. Thanks also to all the crew who worked on it, especially DOP Gerry MacArthur and editor Dave Dillon and all the artists who performed on Brendan’s big night. The biggest thanks go to those who watched us and stayed with us for three weeks. The series appears to have touched people deeply and we are thrilled that you got it. I just wish Brendan was here to share it."

Click here to read our interview with producer/director Brian Reddin to find out more about the making of the series.

 Brendan Grace – Thanks for the Memories is produced and directed by Brian Reddin and producer Rossa Ó Sioradáin for Dearg Films. The documentary is commissioned by RTÉ with Kathy Fox and Grainne McAleer featuring as Executive Producers for RTÉ. Director of Photography is Gerry MacArthur, Editor is Dave Dillon and the series is mixed by Mick Creedon in Number 4 and post-produced in Windmill Lane.

Viewers can look forward to seeing the full tribute concert when it airs on RTÉ One over the Christmas period. 

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