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RTE announces Autumn schedule
30 Jul 1998 :
The press release declares that "There will be a fresh new look for RTE One" which will launch a full 24-hour schedule from 4 September and "a newly revamped Network 2 will evolve and develop to match the needs of it's audience". To be honest the schedule appears to more of the same. There are no major changes and all the standard faces appear in the same places at the same time

One area of new productions is on Sunday nights, the 'Drama Premiere' slot featuring Irish Drama. This area does offer some interesting independent productions and Irish related foreign produced drama. The season will be launched with the premiere of "Falling for a Dancer" based on the best selling novel by Deirdre Purcell, a romantic story set against the backdrop of the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. "Kings in Grass Castles" tells the true story of the Durack family who emigrated to Australia at the time of the famine and at one time were the worlds biggest land owners. The cast includes James Fox, Fionnuala Flanagan and Stephen Dillane. "Flesh and Blood is the tale of two French-Irish brothers who share a passion for harness racing but are divided by a hatred that stems from a tragedy in youth. "The Officer from France" based on the tragic death of Wolfe Tone stars Adrian Dunbar and coincides with the 200th anniversary of the 1798 court martial and execution. Pauline Collins returns in the new series of 'The Ambassador' set in the world of international diplomacy. From John Wells, the creator of ER, comes the Network Premiere of 'Trinity', which tells of the lives and loves and dramas of an Irish-American family living in the notorious Hell's Kitchen area of New York. After that it is all the usual suspects

In the area of documentary the 'True Lives' series returns with a range of Irish produced productions including 'Robbie Dillon', 'China: From Here to the End of the Earth', The Big Move', 'The Gamble', 'Mosney Memories' and what sounds the most interesting 'Holy Hijacker' tells of a priest who once attempted to hi-jack an Aer Lingus plane. Two stories of human perseverance are recounted in 'Never the Same Again', which tells the stories of Monica Hall who was accused in Saudi Arabia of murder and Trevor O'Keefe, who was murdered while hitch-hiking in France in 1987, but whose alleged killer remains at large. The major documentary series, 'The Cold War' comes to RTE One this Autumn. Made by Jeremy Isaacs, whose previous credits include 'The World at War' and 'Ireland - A Television History' which covers the years from the years of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

RTE's current affairs will remain the same with the exception of 'Prime Time' having a new investigative strand. Arts, Music and Entertainment areas throw up nothing new with the exception of the return of zig and zag along with Ray D'Arcy in a new series called '2Phat'.

RTE's seems to have invested quite a lot in their movie line up. Network Premiere's will include 'Braveheart', 'Apollo 13', 'Goldeneye', 'While You Were Sleeping', 'Casper', 'Babe', 'Ace Ventura - When Nature Calls' and 'Jumanji'.

The Midweek Movie list includes 'French Kiss', 'Congo', 'Species', 'Nine Months', 'Crimson Tide', 'The Brothers McMullen', 'Delores Claiborne', and 'Walk In The Clouds'. There will be a new movie slot on Thursday nights on Network 2 which will show 'Top Secret', 'Cliffhanger', LA Story', 'Silence of the Lambs', 'Naked Gun 331/3', 'The Crying Game', 'Dirty Dancing', Knight Moves', 'The Accused', 'Single White Female' and 'City Slickers'

The Family Movies on Saturdays on RTE One continues with films such as 'Loch Ness', 'White Fang' and 'Operation Dumbo Drop'.

None of these is particularly new to cable or satellite users but for the large rural audience where RTE will be competing directly with TV3 for viewers it will give them an edge. Apart from new drama and movies there is very little of interest or any radical changes to RTE's line up apart from tacking on a ton of 60's reruns of cult series after midnight. In fact I would go so far as to say the most entertaining programmes appear in the early hours of the morning. Personally give me a re-run of 'The Prisoner' or 'The Avengers' over Gay Burn any day of the week. On the strength of this line up I'll be switching on the video recorder on the way to bed.

Michael McMahon 30/7/98



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