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'Waterways' Series Returns to RTÉ after Sixteen Years
28 Sep 2011 :
Irish film maker Stephen Rooke brings the ‘Waterways’ series back to RTÉ after a sixteen year absence, beginning Sunday October 2nd on RTÉ One at 8.30pm.

In the early 1990's, naturalist, poet and broadcaster Dick Warner, made an epic journey by barge through the canals of Ireland in the international, multi-award winning documentary series ‘Waterways’. Now, after a 16 year absence, filmmaker Stephen Rooke brings the ‘Waterways’ series back to the screen.

Filming is completed and post production is well under way in Screen Scene on the 6 x 25 minute HD television documentaries, ‘Waterways - A Royal Canal’. In this new series of ‘Waterways’, Dick Warner returns to the inland waterways of Ireland, this time to the newly restored Royal Canal. The series celebrates the final re-opening of the entire Royal Canal to navigation in 2011 after more than half a century of dereliction. Dick takes the ‘Rambler’, an original 70ft Royal Canal Tug Barge, built in 1878, from Dublin to Lough Ree. The last time ‘Rambler’ travelled the Royal Canal was 1923. On this epic journey, Dick meets both experts and ordinary people who live along the banks, learning from them about its heritage, history and wildlife.

Stephen Rooke who heads up Tile Films, the Irish documentary production company, has re-assembled the core team from the original, multi award-winning and hugely successful ‘Waterways’ series that was produced for RTÉ in the early 1990s, including the return of writer/presenter Dick Warner (Ironing the Land, Voyage, Spirit of Trees), Director/Producer Stephen Rooke (Saving the Titanic, Cromwell in Ireland, Death or Canada, The Ghost’s of Duffy’s Cut, Decoding Christianity) and Producer - Larry Masterson (Dermot’s Secret Garden, The Saturday Night Show, The Late Late Show).

Other return crew include Peter Robertson (West is West, Garage, Zonad, Inside I’m Dancing, Song for a Raggy Boy) as DOP – filming on High Def; Editor Jim Duggan (Once, The Guard, Wave-riders) and Composer - Ronan Hardiman (Neverland, My Friend Joe, Lord of the Dance, Feet Of Flame and Celtic Tiger)

Dick Warner tells IFTN “The Royal Canal traverses a fascinating and beautiful part of this country which few people have seen. Our journey along it, although it was eventful at times, was filled with amazing discoveries. I was so taken by it that when the filming ended I immediately repeated the journey in another boat.”

Stephen Rooke commented “It is a great pleasure to be back directing this fantastic documentary series. There is something very special about barge travel – it forces you slow down and to reflect on what is a very different perspective on Ireland. In some ways it is so appropriate to be making this series at present given what has happened to Ireland in the past ten to fifteen years. We shot the series in High Definition, bringing the stunning canal vistas to life onscreen, attempting to evoke the look and feel of the landscape paintings of Old Masters. We hope Waterways will be a thoroughly captivating, insightful and visually stunning experience for viewers.”

’Waterways – The Royal Canal’ features a wealth of untapped archive film, including the collection of canal historian Ruth Heard from the Irish Film Institute, documenting the years of the canal’s use as a commercial conduit and the fight to have it restored.

‘Waterways – The Royal Canal’ is produced by Tile Films Ltd. in association with RTÉ, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland - Sound and Vision Broadcasting Funding Scheme and Section 481. The series begins on RTÉ 1 at 8.30pm on Sunday 2nd October.

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