New faces, familiar faces in new places, and a range of the nation’s favourites lead RTÉ’s Autumn 2020 line-up across television, radio and online. With 18 hours of new Irish-produced drama, the return of Fair City, a bumper sporting calendar, new investigative programming, as well as exciting new documentaries, arts and children’s programming, RTÉ is inviting viewers to spend time at home with RTÉ this autumn.
Dee Forbes, Director-General, said: “Despite a very changed world with all of its new challenges, I am pleased to share this compelling, diverse and exciting season of programming, for television, radio and online. Audiences have been turning to RTÉ in record numbers in recent months and brought us into their homes, and RTÉ's role as the national public service media has never been more important – not just in providing trusted news and analysis to the public, but also in supporting our communities, in sharing our stories, in supporting home-grown talent, and in bringing people all over the country together. These themes remain to the fore in RTÉ's autumn schedule.
“Today we launch 18 hours of new drama, a slate of important new documentaries, and a bumper calendar of sport and entertainment. As well as independent news, current affairs and investigations, RTÉ continues to support Irish artists, communities and performers. We look forward to audiences spending some quality time at home with RTÉ this autumn."
CONVERSATION AND CONNECTION – Across radio, tv and online
Conversation and connection have become more important than ever in recent times, and RTÉ will continue to deliver. As Claire Byrne takes the helm at the mid-morning radio slot on RTÉ Radio 1, more schedule changes will see a big refresh on the nation’s most-listened-to radio station. Sarah McInerney and Cormac Ó hEadhra will take the wheel at Drivetime from 4.30 pm each weekday afternoon, dissecting all the main news stories of the day.
Áine Lawlor and Mary Wilson join Ireland's number one radio show, Morning Ireland, and Bryan Dobson moves to lunchtime radio news with RTÉ News at One with Bryan Dobson.
Katie Hannon will present Saturday with Katie Hannon on RTÉ Radio 1.
Brendan O’Connor will continue on-air on Saturday and Sunday mornings, with a live stimulating mix of news, interviews, reports, and discussion.
The Late Late Show returns after an unforgettable season that brought the nation together at much-needed moments and promises a Late Late Toy Show like no other this Christmas.
Ray D'Arcy returns to Saturday nights this autumn on RTÉ One, more details of which will be announced in coming weeks.
Joe Duffy will bring his warmth and curiosity to The Meaning of Life as he carries forward the torch of Gay Byrne’s much-loved series, posing burning existential questions this season to Vicky Phelan, Mary Lou McDonald, and Blindboy Boatclub among others.
Liveline continues to take the pulse of the nation and bring about real change, as seen recently with the banking story.
Meanwhile, each morning, 2FM Breakfast with Doireann & Eoghan guarantees smart and funny chat, while Jennifer Zamparelli brings her wry take to the topics of the day.
Today with Maura and Daithi is back for more daily chat and craic on RTÉ One.
In podcasts, there’s a second series of Unlocked with Laura and Emma, while Tara Stewart has more Dirty Laundry.
HOME TRUTHS – News and Factual
In what has been an unprecedented year for Ireland and the world, RTÉ will continue to report, reflect and debate changing and challenging times with world-class news and current affairs coverage. Recent research by Red C* has shown exceptionally high levels in public trust for RTÉ’s news and current affairs. RTÉ News brings you the most-watched news programmes in Ireland, and new team David McCullagh and Caitriona Perry will be at the helm of flagship bulletin, the Six-One News, from August 31st.
This autumn sees more live studio debate with Miriam O'Callaghan anchoring Prime Time, and Claire Byrne Live returning on Monday nights.
RTÉ Investigates, which brought us the powerful documentaries on the impact of Covid-19 in St James's Hospital, will reveal new investigations.
Extensive informed coverage on the US Presidential Election, with RTÉ News' Washington Correspondent Brian O'Donovan, RTÉ's dedicated US news and politics podcast, States of Mind, and live election results coverage right through the night this November.
RTÉ News’ newest presenter Mícheál Ó Scannáill joins news2day, Ireland’s only news programme for children, returning this September.
This September also sees a refreshed version of the RTÉ News app launch, ensuring an enhanced user experience, more prominent live content and video, with a rebrand to the core RTÉ News identity for the app and the RTÉ News television channel.
IMPACT – New Documentaries
RTÉ has a strong tradition in producing impactful documentaries and this season presents Irish stories across a diverse range of subjects. Home: A Year in Ireland’s Housing Crisis follows a cross-section of people from all walks of Irish life as they attempt to navigate a way through spiralling rents, soaring house prices, and now the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Sins of Ireland, acclaimed documentary maker Alex Fegan (Older Than Ireland ) meets with 30 Irish priests to discuss the sins that have emotionally resonated with them.
The Case I Can’t Forget features retired and serving Gardai telling the stories of the cases that had a profound impact on them.
Marian offers an intimate portrait of legendary broadcaster Marian Finucane.
Bishop Eamonn Casey - Shepherd or Wolf? sees journalist Anne Sheridan investigate claims that the notorious former Bishop of Galway took even darker secrets to his grave.
Fr. Niall Molloy documents the investigation of the murder of Fr Niall Molloy.
The Real Field tells the real story behind one of Ireland’s most notorious unsolved murders.
Also, three years on from his death, a new documentary, McGuinness, featuring interviews with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, looks at the life and legacy of Martin McGuinness.
From the makers of the acclaimed hurling series The Game comes Christy Ring: The Greatest, a film about the enigmatic Cork hurler, deemed by many to be the greatest player of all time, on the centenary of his birth.
A Big Week in September offers a snapshot of school and family life in the early days of September 2020.
The Decade of Anniversaries continues with history documentaries and series across radio and television including The Bloodied Field, an adaptation of Michael Foley’s acclaimed book about Bloody Sunday and, 74 Days: Inside Terence MacSwiney’s Hunger Strike.
Scannal returns for a new series. Cláracha Gaeilge look at the stories of Philip Cairns; The Brinks Allied Bank Robbery; The Smoking Ban and as families all over the country get ready to return to schools, we look at the events surrounding The Holy Cross Primary School in Belfast.
An Teach s'againne is an observational documentary series featuring mums and dads as they navigate family life on their own. The series witnesses the tough realities of bringing up children in lone parent households as well as the moments of joy.
COSC Cláracha Gaeilge look at the banning of Enda O'Brien's Country Girls, Jazz music and the iconic Casablanca.
This season, across a number of factual series, RTÉ will examine what has happened in our country and across the world over the past months during Covid-19, and what might be coming next.
A powerful new documentary Love and Loss in a Pandemic features seven people who faced the traumatic and bewildering experience of losing a loved one during Ireland’s Covid-19 emergency.
In The Other Side, some of Ireland’s most vibrant voices look the possible wider impacts of the Coronavirus, exploring themes of the economy, the social contract, education, and spirituality.
As we all move through a period of unprecedented social change, The Way We Were looks at aspects of our lives that have changed radically over the last 80 years.
Taking Ireland's Pulse reveals and discusses the results of a major poll as we survey the nation and find on how we feel as a people and how we see the future after six months of the Covid crisis.
And against the backdrop of a year dominated by Covid, in Science Week we look at the future of health, wealth and happiness live on RTÉ One across three nights on Future Island.
SPORTS FIX – RTÉ Sport brings you closer…
During these unprecedented times, RTÉ will continue to bring live sport into your home this Autumn. October sees the start of the GAA championships and the return of The Sunday Game with Joanne Cantwell and Des Cahill at the helm.
October also sees the culmination of the Women's Six Nations, the Republic of Ireland's Euro play-off semi-final against Slovakia, plus a Women’s Euro qualifier v Germany and the crowning of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division champions.
The GAA Championships continue in November including the Munster Hurling Final, the All Ireland Hurling and Camogie semi-finals, as well as Ireland international rugby fixtures v Wales and Fiji, the FAI Cup semi-finals and final, and horse racing with the Irish Grand National from Fairyhouse.
December features the historic climax of the All-Ireland Championships in Football, Hurling and Camogie alongside the Women's FAI Cup Final and the European Cross-Country Championships from Dublin.
Also this autumn a documentary, New Gaels, tells the unique stories of four GAA players who began life in different countries.
HOME ENTERTAINMENT – Great Drama, Comedy, Lifestyle, and more …
Home to Ireland’s most-watched entertainment shows, RTÉ will continue to provide moments of light relief this autumn, with new offerings and returning favourites. With 18 hours of new Irish drama, the autumn will see The South Westerlies, a six-part series starring Orla Brady, Eileen Walsh, and Patrick Bergin, about an Irish coastal town earmarked for a Norwegian-owned wind farm, beginning on Sunday, September 6th on RTÉ One.
Also airing this season is Dead Still, a new six-part mystery set in the eerie world of memorial photography in Victorian-era Dublin, starring Michael Smiley, Eileen O’Higgins, and Aidan O’Hare.
Also coming to our screen, a new six-part drama written by Kate O’Riordan and starring Dervla Kirwan, Smothe r is a family thriller about deeply buried secrets and their unintended consequences, set in a small town on the wild and rugged coast of Clare.
Fair City - after five months off-air - makes its return on Sunday, September 6th as the people of Carrigstown reflect life through Covid-19.
September also sees the return of Eastenders to RTÉ One.
Amy Huberman’s hit comedy Finding Joy returns.
New in comedy, The 2 Johnnies Do America sees the popular podcast comedians navigate their first US tour for a brand new RTÉ television series.
Sinead Quinlan: Thanks a Brilliant starring up-and-coming Corkonian comedian Sinead Quinlan and co-written by the writers of OMG What a Complete Aisling - Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght - is a new series for RTÉ Player.
Fantasy Ireland is a new outrageous post-watershed animated comedy series set in a fantastical version of contemporary Ireland.
RTÉ will air acclaimed international dramas Mrs. America, starring Cate Blanchett, hit Phoebe Waller-Bridge penned comedy series Fleabag with Andrew Scott, and series two of Yellowstone with Kevin Costner.
SHAPING OUR COMMUNITY
As our lifestyles continue to evolve in the shadow of Covid-19, several new series will offer escape and insights. Last year we launched Climate Week with an entire week of investigations, events, and debate. This year we will continue our commitment to Climate- based output with one of the key pillars of that week, What Planet are you On? a series based around Irish families, that looks into how we live, the choices we make, and how little changes can have a positive impact on the environment. Baz Ashmawy fronts DIY SOS: The Big Build, an uplifting new series which sees tradespeople and locals band together to help improve the quality of life of a deserving family.
In Davy Fitzgerald's Toughest Climb, GAA manager Davy Fitzgerald brings a group of young men on the challenge of a lifetime.
In My Uni Life, we meet seven Irish students who got to college against all the odds.
Return of the Wild tells the story of solicitor-by-day Killian McLaughlin and his big ambitions to build a zoo in Donegal.
The heart-warming Francis Street Photographer tells the story of Suzanne Behan who sets about to reunite people with precious family photos after she finds her photographer grandfather’s box of 40,000 negatives, capturing the pulse of everyday life in the Liberties.
Returning favourite shows this season include Dermot Bannon’s Incredible Homes, Home Rescue, It’s a Park’s Life, The Zoo, and John Creedon is back with a new series of Creedon's Atlas of Ireland.
SUPPORTING ARTISTS, SUPPORTING US …
Books, music, and entertainment have meant even more than ever to us in recent months and RTÉ will continue to support exciting culture makers in these challenging times. Denise Chaila with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Villagers, Dermot Kennedy, and others feature in Shine, an hour of music and specially commissioned spoken word and poetry airing on RTÉ One this Saturday 29 August at 8.15 pm.
The RTÉ Player exclusive Shine On goes live on 30 August and Shine is on RTÉ Radio 1, 4 pm, 30 August from the National Concert Hall and Iveagh Gardens.
Culture Night 2020 (Friday 18th September) will feature a special Culture Night edition of Nationwide on RTÉ One, bringing a taste of what Culture Night means across the country to a large national audience, together with additional content on rte.ie/culture and RTÉ Radio. A highlight of the Nationwide Culture Night Special promises to be an RTÉ commissioned dance film piece, designed to lift the spirits and filmed with playful irreverence on location in Dublin Castle.
The Works Presents returns with a new five-part series in which John Kelly meets key Irish figures from the arts.
Spoken Stories: Independence is a landmark RTÉ Decade of Centenaries RTÉ Radio series of 12 brand new commissioned half-hour stories from Ireland’s most acclaimed writers, inspired by what independence is today, 100 years after Ireland’s War for Independence. The writers include Oscar-winner Neil Jordan, Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright, and International Dublin Literary Award-winner Kevin Barry.
In Slí na mBeaglaioch, renowned West Kerry musicians, father and son, Breanndán and Cormac Ó Beaglaioch take off from Baile na bPoc to travel up the West coast of Ireland from Kerry to Donegal in their 40 year old camper van, Beauty, on a journey of musical discovery.
KIDS – RTÉjr and beyond …
This autumn, RTÉ has a schedule of new and returning series for kids.
On RTÉjr (for 0 to 7-year-olds) Hungry Bear Tales in which two friends Ned & Mikey, gobble their way onto our screens searching for something tasty to eat.
Body Brothers the hilarious science and dance show returns.
Bright Sparks is back with more magical fun and drama.
On RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player for 8 to 12-year-olds:
Dorg Van Dango is back with brand new episodes.
Squad Goals returns bigger and better than ever with new presenter Anna Geary.
Ace My Space gives more kids across the country the opportunity to land the bedroom of their dreams.
Gamer Mode is Ireland’s first gaming TV show, made by gamers for gamers.
Blasts from The Past sees our young hero Emily Blast jumping through centuries on a mission to recover historical objects that have been lost in time.
And for young teenagers: Growing Up at the End of the World follows three teen climate change activists over a year and a half as they demand change in a bid to save their future.