27 November 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
RTÉ reveals TV line-up for the Christmas period
04 Dec 2019 : News Desk
RTÉ has unwrapped its Christmas line-up with a feast of home-produced programming across television and online.

From the best in Irish-made documentaries to big Irish music specials, home-grown comedy, lifestyle programmes and movie premieres, along with a New Year’s Eve party extravaganza from Dublin, there is a sensational selection of programming for all tastes this holiday season.

Celebrating Irish Icons 

It was a year of some notable losses across Ireland, and this Christmas RTÉ pays tribute and remembers. Brendan Grace Thanks for the Memories the Concert, a one-off special filmed at the Olympia Theatre, sees the cream of Ireland’s show business community pay tribute to one of the greatest Irish entertainers of all time. In Brendan Grace - A Late Late Tribute, we take look back at comedian Brendan Grace's most memorable moments down through the years as a guest on The Late Late Show on RTÉ One. 

Following his recent passing, Niall Tóibín: Everyman is a celebration of Tóibín’s brilliant career and a look at his lasting legacy. Garech Browne: Last Days at Luggala is a moving tribute to one of the greatest modern patrons of the arts.

Exceptional Stories

No Planet B: The Day We Took the Dáil is an emotional observational documentary following three dynamic young Irish people who are passionate about climate change - and who are all on their way to Dáil Éireann to do something about it. Leaving Limbo is the inspiring story of teenage best friends Natasha and Minahil – who grew up in Athlone as asylum seekers and are now navigating the tricky task of acing the Leaving Cert. Back from the Brink, presented by Derek Mooney, demonstrates that with determination and passion we can start to turn things around, and re-build our fragile environment. And news2day will take a look back at the year in the news which was dominated by climate action from school climate strikes to the RTÉ Youth Assembly on Climate.

Irish Nostalgia

And because we all love a bit of nostalgia at Christmas, the theme continues with The Big Christmas Rewind, a cracker of a show featuring Irish celebrities and their families sitting down together to rewind through a heart-warming and hilarious mix of the best of Irish Christmas telly from years gone by And as she hangs up her Nationwide hat, Mary Kennedy: as Seen on TV spools back through the archives and selects some memorable moments from her 40 year television career.

Irish Festive Treats 

Once upon a Time at Christmas is RTEjr’s brand new exciting and hilarious panto for Christmas 2019.  Join the Big Bad Wolf as he tries to show the world that he has changed his ways for good and is now the Big Good Wolf.   Join a host of familiar RTEjr faces as they sing and dance their way to a happy ever after.

Great Irish Interiors is a new three-part series, following the fascinating work of historical interior experts as they transform Doneraile Court, Emo Court, and Kylemore Abbey.

Ireland’s Rich List: 21st Century Hotshots is a two-part series, presented by Richard Curran, which goes through the top 30 billionaires and millionaires who make up this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, revealing what it takes to join this exclusive club.

In the festive tradition Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas specials returns; Agnes’ world is turned upside down when an angel arrives in Finglas and grants her a wish to see what life would be like if she’d never been born. Kevin Kennedy guest stars. everyone in the Brown household is concerned at the news that the poisoner Peggy Piper has been released from prison, Winnie especially. Sue Vincent guest stars.

Music: The Best of Irish

On Christmas Eve Carols from Kilkenny Castle is presented by Mary Kennedy, featuring Colm Wilkinson, Claudia Boyle, Kilkenny's own Ronan Tynan, Jack L, Róisín Ó, and her new band Thanks Brother and Hudson Taylor, accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and a host of local choirs. Pat Shortt Music from D’Telly will feature festive favourites and rarely seen performances from some of Ireland’s best-loved musical artists including Mary Black, Colm Willkinson, Sonny Knowles, Elvis Costello and more. The return of Irish music sensations Westlife in 2019 saw sold-out performances in Croke Park and we bring viewers an hour-long special of the summer concerts.

A Dramatic Christmas

An hour-long Fair City special on Christmas Day has families coming together with the early return of Sash Bishop, heavily pregnant with Orla and Wayne's baby, and a lonely Ger shows up to Christmas dinner at the Collins', leaving Sharon horrified and Hayley caught in the middle.

Festive Film

The Christmas Letter is a new Irish animation based on the true story of a Christmas letter to Santa found in Terenure, Dublin decades later, with the voices of Catriona Balfe, Fiona Shaw. And what would seasonal telly be without a feast of Christmas movies? Movie premieres include Beauty and the BeastPaddington 2Bridget Jones's Baby, Damo and Ivor – The Movie, Office Christmas Party, Storks, The Christmas Letter and Irish movie Float Like A Butterfly with Hazel Doube as a woman champion boxer. Classic film crackers such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactorySanta Claus 2, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Indiana Jones and Back to the Future will also feature over the festive season. 

Eat, drink, and be merry

Rory O'Connell blends his unique cooking style and ingenuity to create some interesting Christmas recipes in a two-part seasonal special. In search of mouth-watering Irish Christmas food, Neven Maguire heads to Co Waterford while Donal Skehan offers tips and tricks to the holiday season in Super Food in Minutes 

Festive Sport

The RTÉ Sport Awards 2019, presented by Darragh Maloney and Joanne Cantwell, will come live from Studio 4 in RTÉ. There’s also live coverage of the FIFA Club World Cup and four days of live racing from the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. 

The Second Captains are back with a New Year’s Eve special when the search for Ireland's Greatest Non-Sportsperson Sportsperson will continue. On Playing with Words, a Cultural Journey through Sport, Darren Frehill is joined by some special guests, including authors Dermot Bolger and Louise Nealon.

Shane Lowry – Open sees award-winning filmmaker Ross Whitaker (KatieAnthony Foley – Munsterman) tells the remarkable tale behind the Offaly man’s British Open win this summer while a radio documentary The Clara Jug: Four Days in Portrush will also tell the story.

Happy New Year!

On New Year's Eve, Ireland's Fittest Family - Celebrity Special, will see reality star Brian Dowling, sports presenter Jacqui Hurley, athletes Rob and Maria Heffernan and actor David O'Sullivan get put through their paces in Kilruddery's famous Hell & Back course.

Party into the New Year with Tipperary star Una Healy and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra together with a star-studded cast, including The Waterboys, David Gray, Wallis Bird, Brian Kennedy and many more special guests for what promises to be a truly magical night.

Following Una Healy's NYE Party, the NYE Countdown Concert from Custom House Quay in Dublin will begin for the spectacular midnight moment. Playing us into the New Year will be Walking on Cars. Music fans can see the whole concert with Ash, Aimee and Lisa McHugh also streamed live on RTÉ Player.

Speaking of the New Year, RTÉ will be unwrapping plenty of new series in early January, including the hotly anticipated return of Dancing with the Stars, the celebrities on which are being revealed this week. Operation TransformationTommy TiernanOne Day all return to our screens in the New Year along with a new series Style Counsellors,  Room to ImproveDermot’s HomeHow to be Good with MoneyAll Walks of Life with Mary McAleese and the return of the ever-popular First Dates and of course The Late Late Show.

And there’s more… on the RTÉ Player

Relax over the Christmas break with festive favourite’s on-demand on RTÉ Player. Stream must-see soap storylines, discover festive food or binge awesome box-sets. Settle in with full seasons of the classics like Love/Hate, ERAlly McBeal, and Frasier or dip into something new like Chris O’Dowd’s State of the Union or the brand new boxset of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Keep the kids entertained with kids mode on the RTÉ Player with hundreds of episodes of fun favourites like Peppa Pig, Fluffy Gardens, Bob the Builder, Nelly & Nora the Christmas Panto. There’s also awesome RTÉ Player Originals to get your teeth into like comedy sketch series The Doireann Project, Converted and a festive short series called Christmas Crack-up where well-known faces get into the Christmas spirit. 

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