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TV3 Unveils First Drama and Sitcom As Part of Autumn Schedule
23 Aug 2012 : By Steve Cummins
Leigh Arnold and Conor Mullen in 'Deception'
TV3 has unveiled its autumn schedule with its new Irish-shot drama ‘Deception’ among the most notable programmes on its forthcoming schedule.

The €1.2m six-part drama series was among 50 new programmes and 80 returning series announced by TV3 group programme director Ben Frow at the launch at Dublin’s Light House Cinema earlier today (August 23).

’Deception’ stars Leigh Arnold (The Clinic), Conor Mullen (Holby City), Jim Norton (Father Ted), and Nora-Jane Noone (The Magdalene Sisters) and is set on a semi-ghost estate in Galway in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. Co-funded by TV3 and the BAI, the series was filmed in Galway and produced by Tyrone Productions and EO Teilifís under the banner of Leiriuchain RnR productions.

TV3 also announced details of its first Irish-made comedy series ‘On The Couch’, another six-part series created and performed by Barbara Bergin (Intermission) and Gary Crooke (Apres Match). The series follows three couples embarking on couples counseling and was produced by Fubar productions.

Speaking to IFTN at the launch, Frow commented that the addition of homegrown drama and comedy marked “the end of a five-year journey” for him.

He added: “Since I arrived at TV3 we’ve been trying to turn the schedule from an American drama-based schedule, where you buy in lots of American drama, to an Irish schedule. It’s now about 40 per cent Irish, so over the past four or five years we’ve been gradually increasing our drama content.”

Frow pointed to the station’s recent stream of factual shows, documentaries and entertainment shows adding that TV3 had now “finally got the two missing pieces which are drama and comedy”.

He added: “To be able to have all the old favourites back like the ‘Dublin Wives’ and ‘Celebrity Salon’, and ‘Tallifornia’, as well as great factual and great documentaries, plus comedy and drama, it’s the end of a five year journey for me.”

Among the other notable announcements in the schedule were the station’s lead lifestyle series for the forthcoming season, which is ‘The Great Irish Bake Off’.

An Irish take on the successful BBC format, the eight-part series will be produced by Dublin-based production company Sideline. The series will be presented by Anna Nolan and professional baker and author Biddy White-Lennon, who previously appeared on the small screen as Maggie Riordan in ‘The Riordans’.

Returning Irish entertainment and reality shows include ‘Tallafornia 2’ (this time set in Santa Ponsa, Spain), ‘Celebrity Salon 3’, ‘Alan Hughes Family Fortunes’, ‘Irish Celebrity Come Dine With Me’ and ‘Dublin Wives’. The ‘Tallafornia’ crew will also take part in a Christmas special entitled ‘Talleluia’.

Other new shows include Midas Productions’ nature documentary ‘The Park’; in-house cookery show ‘The Lazy Chef’; and reality TV show ‘Working in the Big House’, which aims to recreate life in a grand country house and will be produced by Big Mountain Productions.

Among the noted news programmes include ‘Michaela: The Search for Justice’, which examines the recent court case around the killing of Michaela McAreavey (Harte) in 2011.

International acquisition highlights are led by the European premieres of the remake of ‘Dallas’, and the return of ‘The X Factor USA’.

TV3 also confirmed the completion of its new HD Studio at its Ballymount headquarters in Dublin. Scheduled to open before the year end, the station says the studio will provide it with “world-class facilities to develop a whole new roster of programming”. The broadcaster also announced plans for the creation of new digital channels in 2013.

Commenting at the launch today, David McRedmond CEO of TV3 highlighted the “depth and variety” in the schedule which he said “provide choice for Irish viewers and a competitive market for programme makers and advertisers”.

Taking aim at the State funding of RTÉ, he added: “This choice should not be taken for granted.TV3 still requires the Irish Government to address the gross imbalance in Irish broadcasting which favours an outdated state monopoly model above independent choice and plurality.”

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