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RTÉ Autumn Line-Up: Deadpan's Dead Still, Treasure Entertainment's Smother, and Amy Huberman's Finding Joy Season 2
27 Aug 2020 : News Desk
RTÉ Autumn 2020 schedule
The RTÉ Autumn 2020 line-up has been announced with 18 hours of new Irish-produced drama including Dead Still, The South Westerlies, and Smother, Amy Huberman’s Finding Joy Seasons Two, new investigative programming, the return of The Late Late Show, as well as exciting new documentaries, arts, and children’s programming.

“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,” said Director-General Dee Forbes, when speaking at the virtual launch yesterday.

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." 
Entertainment
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. Read our interview with Dead Still writer and creator John Morton.

Another new drama coming to our screens, Smother,  a new six-part drama written by Kate O’Riordan and starring Dervla Kirwan,  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.      

Amy Huberman’s comedy-drama Finding Joy, an RTÉ and Acorn TV co-production, returns for a second season. 

Fair City - after five months off-air - makes its return on Sunday,  September 6th as the people of Carrigstown reflect life through Covid-19. 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 Blanchet,  hit Phoebe Waller-Bridge penned comedy series Fleabag with Andrew Scott, and series two of Yellowstone with Kevin Costner.
Talk Shows
Conversation and connection have become more important than ever in recent times, and RTÉ intends to continue to deliver on this front with its flagship The Late Late Show returning along with a number of other formats.        

  • 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.        
  • Today with Maura and Daithi is back for more daily chat and craic on RTÉ One.        

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.  RTÉ has also reported that 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.        

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 Gardaí 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 out 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 
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.     

Community and Lifestyle 
As our lifestyles continue to evolve in the shadow of Covid-19, several new series will offer escape and insights. Last year, RTÉ launched Climate Week with an entire week of investigations, events, and debate. This year RTÉ intends to continue its 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 HomesHome Rescue, It’s a Park’s Life, The Zoo, and John Creedon is back with a new series of Creedon's Atlas of Ireland.       

Kids – RTÉjr
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.  



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