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‘Corp is Anam’ Returns to TG4 on Thursday, November 27th
21 Nov 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
Irish language TV drama ‘Corp is Anam’ makes its highly anticipated return to the small screen next Thursday. The series follows a crime correspondent as he uncovers the corruption in Ireland’s crime and legal systems. The 4x1 hour series is produced by Magamedia for TG4.

Below, IFTN talks with producer Paddy Hayes about the production of the series, its suspenseful plot and its ‘Celtic noir’ quality.

What was your experience of working on this series of ‘Corp is Anam’? Did you find any challenges?

“The biggest challenge was casting. There are seventy speaking roles in the second season with only ten repeat cast from season one. The reason for this is the protagonist, Cathal Mac Iarnáin, is an investigative crime journalist. He investigates different stories every week so you have a whole new cast of characters with each episode.

“Darach Mac Con Iomaire, the director, spent three months casting. We needed people who could play the characters and who were very competent in the Irish language because Darach directs in Irish on set.

“The second season of a show is like a second album for a young band - it throws up challenges such as funding. The BAI often wants new projects so you need to hit them with something quite striking if you’re going there for a second time. But one plays to one’s strengths – the first series had two brilliant characters in Cathal, played by Diarmuid de Faoite, and in his wife, Mairead, who is played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, so we had strong foundations and we were confident that we could bring back these two characters and challenge them even further in season two.”

The first series was made back in 2011 and now makes its return. What has the journey been like between the two seasons?

“Writing for high-end TV drama can’t be put through a sausage factory. It does require finding the right tone and timing is another issue. You also have multiple funders who you have to go knocking on the doors of again and the process of applying for that funding takes time. Once you’ve been green-lit, you’ve a minimum of six to nine months before you can go into production so overall we didn’t do too bad!

“Having said that, it does make it challenging in that you have to account for those years in the characters’ lives as well. You can’t pick up the new season from where the last one left off, unlike with American TV dramas which are funded for multiple seasons.

“‘Corp is Anam’ is young yet so I would be hopeful and confident that as it grows funders will see its merits and consider giving it multi-season funding.”

Taking place three years on, there are two key storylines in this series – we continue to follow Cathal’s career and we also see a breakdown in communications in his family. What can you tell us about these plots and establishing a balance between them?

“Cathal Mac Iarnáin takes on the legal profession to a large extent in season two. He likes kicking over hornets’ nests and in this case it’s the legal system. He goes to the local courts, the high court, and observes how victims are treated in this profession.

“Domestically, things have gone a bit pear-shaped with his wife, Mairead. The storyline sees them estranged and he has been kicked out of the house at the start of the season. What is interesting is that Mairead is a solicitor and as the season progresses, and Cathal becomes increasingly challenged by the legal profession, he has to go back to Mairead to help him with her skills. So the relationship builds up towards whether or not Mairead can stand up to her peers in order to help Cathal… dun dun dun!”

A number of themes are explored in the series – there’s the corruption of the legal system, balancing work and family, and the responsibility of the media. Which of these has been the most rewarding to explore?

“I think the movie ‘Nightcrawler’, which was out recently, was interesting in that it explored the public’s appetite for grim news. For Cathal’s character, news is paramount and his ego is huge in delivering that news. I think that will resonate with people ethically. Cathal is still exploring what it means to be an ethical journalist, because journalistic ethics don’t really exist, but his heart is in the right place when he’s pursuing his stories. He tends to tread on toes and in this series he treads on very big, very powerful toes.”

How does ‘Corp is Anam’ relate to other Irish language TV and other TG4 drama? With ‘An Bronntanas’ also, the thriller seems to be a very popular genre at the moment...

“I think it’s a very interesting time and this term ‘Celtic noir’ is very popular at the moment, which would include say ‘Hinterland’ as well. Asides from the marketing element of the term, there is a darker side to Irish culture and the Irish psyche that we can tap into, and ‘Corp is Anam’ and ‘An Bronntanas’ are doing just that. That innate ‘fight or flight’ experience that primitive man had is being lost, so these shows are a kind of way of living vicariously and experiencing those thrills.”

Paddy Hayes is currently working on six-part teen musical comedy ‘Epic’, which recently got funding from the BAI. He also worked on music series ‘Ceolchuairt’, which is airing in January.

The award-winning series ‘Corp is Anam’ was filmed in Galway. Its DoP was Colm Hogan (‘Seachtar na Cásca’) and designer was Nicola Moroney (‘Songs for Amy’). It was edited by Conall de Cléir (‘Cré na Cille’), mixed by Mark Henry in Windmill Lane and graded by Eugene McCrystal in EMC. Fionán Higgins provided sound supervision, Fiadhnait McCann operated as SFX editor and foley was provided by Ardmore Sound. ‘

Corp + Anam’ is produced with funding from TG4, the BAI and Section 481. A third season for ‘Corp is Anam’ is currently in development.

The new series begins Thursday, 27th November 2014 at 9.30pm on TG4. The first season can be viewed now on the TG4 player.




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