Some Highlights from RTE50

I spent some time yesterday going through the RTE50 website on the RTE Player. It really is superb and you could spent hours watching this stuff. We all give out about RTE all the time, often with good cause but when they get something like this right, they should be commended. Still can’t understand why there isn’t an RTE Gold playing this stuff non-stop.

To mark the 50th anniversary of RTE, the archives department have restored a selection of programmes from the stations 50 years of broadcast and put them on their website where people can see them. Among the selection of items on the site I was delighted and quite proud actually that a show I edited made it onto the list.
That show was the pilot episode of Killinaskully. It is however the documentary shows that really make the site what it is. Their are some truly remarkable stuff for your viewing pleasure. I havent had the chance to watch all of the things I’d like to yet but what I have seen I’ve really enjoyed.

Murphy’s America – Nashville
Mike Murphy visits Nashville – he meets all the greats of country music including Tammy Wynette, Don Williams, Tom T. Hall and gets an opportunity to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. First broadcast: 30.11.1978.
This entire series was restored and replayed on RTE several years ago and its brilliant. the episode in New York is exceptional if you ever get the chance to see it.

Planxty: In Concert
Playing to a packed audience in the National Stadium in Dublin, Planxty’s performance is electric. The band consists of Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine and Liam O’Flynn, all of whom play a wide range of instruments. First broadcast: 18.06.1973
You really shouldn’t need any extra encouragement to see this. ITS PLANXTY!

At the Embankment: Paul Brady
A series featuring well-known performers on the traditional Irish music scene, recorded at The Embankment. First broadcast: 26.11.1976
In a similar vein to the last one, there is no reason not to be watching this immediatly.

Times Got Good.
Documentary charting the wit and stories of South Galway farmer Joe Flanagan, as he and his brother Paddy plan to sell their property and retire. First broadcast in 1971.
This is a lot of craic, Cathal O’Shannon interviews what we could call “a real character” from South Galway, great archive of the Galway Races and rural life in the 70’s.

Wheels of the World – Life in North Kerry
Shot over 10 days in 1974, this documentary captures the sounds and rhythms of rural life.
This is a cracking slice of life doc about North Kerry, featuring a script by the late great Con Houlihan

Scope – The Four Roads
This 1973 Pat O Connor film follows the daily life of 70-year-old Winnie Mongan as her family wend their way around the highways and byways of Ireland on their annual pilgrimage to the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.
Earlier this year I cut King of The Travellers, which featured some archive footage in its opening sequence. I saw a lot of old traveller archive and this is among the best. There are a lot of traveller based shows at the moment, many of which are exploitative but in recent years RTE’s output in that regard has been good with Liam McGrath making a couple of terrific docs on traveller life and heritage. track them down if you can.

It’s A Hard Auld Station
Profile of the Sheriff Street community in East Wall, Dublin, as families struggled to survive following the collapse of the city’s docks. First broadcast in 1976.
This is a fantastic social document of inner city life in Dublin in the 70’s made by the people of the area. Really great, especially since we can see the changes good and bad since then on the Dublin docklands. Its a powerful, emotionally raw film with a strange threatening undercurrent, it also features some incredible hair!

and the one I cut
The very first programme of the popular drama series featuring the bizarre goings on in an Irish village starring and co-written by Pat Shortt. An air of excitement descends on Killinaskully with the arrival of a German film crew intent on making a documentary about rural Irish life. First broadcast: 30/12/2003
A long time ago now, I was 22 when I cut this.

Here is the full list of shows on the site. I’m looking forward to watching all of “the green linet” and “as the crow flies” as I’ve heard great things

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