5 December 2023 The Irish Film & Television Network
‘Dirty Old Towns’ Gets Happy Ending With Endemol
12 Nov 2012 : By Eva Hall
Diarmuid Gavin presented the original 'Dirty Old Towns'
Irish television format ‘Dirty Old Towns’ has cleaned up in five European territories after being optioned by Endemol and Odeon Film.

Nordic World, which recently sold Irish format ‘Feirm Factor’ globally, has struck a deal in which ‘Dirty Old Towns’ has been optioned by Endemol in France, Italy, Denmark and Norway, and Odeon Film in Germany.

The original format, which was developed by Dublin-based Happy Endings Films, initially aired on RTÉ One in 2011. It followed TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin as he made it his mission to clean up the towns of Ireland, with the help of the residents that occupy them.

A second season recently aired on RTÉ One, with each weekly episode featuring projects such as cleaning up a dumping site, a river, or an entire school. The show also featured a Weekend Challenge, where residents had to complete a project within 24 hours.

Seamus Cassidy developed the idea for the Irish market, and served as executive producer on the show. Amy Breen and Niamh Guckian were producers.

Dublin post house Screen Scene looked after post-production, with Suzanne McKenzie the post-production co-ordinator and John O’Riordan in charge of graphics. Mark Fitzpatrick was the dubbing mixer, Colín O’Cearbhaill the online editor and Juangus Dinsmore the offline editor.

Speaking of the recent sales deal, Jan Salling, Nordic World’s chief operating officer and director of sales, compared the ‘Dirty Old Towns’ format to that of ‘Feirm Factor’.

“‘Dirty Old Towns’ follows on from our recent success with another Irish-originated format, ‘Farm Factor’, which has also been optioned across Europe. Both are highly original concepts from a small but incredibly creative territory. All Nordic World needed to do was reposition and repackage ‘Dirty Old Towns’ for the international market — the brilliance of Seamus’ format did the rest,” said Salling.

Endemol is currently one of the biggest players in the format world, having brought the ‘Big Brother’ ‘Idol’ and ‘Come Dine With Me’ formats to our screens. Odeon Film is home to the long-running German crime series ‘Ein Fall FuerZwei, which has been on screens since 1981, and ‘Der Kriminalist’, which stars ‘Das Experiment’ and ‘Valkyrie’ actor Christian Berkel.

Seamus Cassidy, managing director of Happy Endings Productions, said he was "delighted" his format idea had been optioned around the world.

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