Blogging A Dead Horse

So I’ve only been waiting about 3 weeks to write that headline.
Anyway the reason for the headline is to say that over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be working on a documentary with Luke McManus about the Irish wonderhorse Arkle.

The show debuts this week on TG4 on Wednesday 12th of March (tonight) and is shown again on Thursday on Channel 4 at 11:00.

I’m really excited to have something on Channel 4 as I’ve never had anything that I’ve cut broadcast in the UK before. So make sure to tune in on one of the nights.

Here’s a little taster of what to expect.

The documentary was written and directed by Luke McManus and produced by Denis Kirwan & Stephen Cullinane of Touchline Media.

Also returning tonight to RTE is the second series of Second Captains featuring the brother and the rest of the lads.Its on after the Champions League on RTE2 at 10:15. So once you’re finished watching Arkle make sure to switch over. Or you could just record it…

Here’s the press release for Arkle

To mark the 50th anniversary of the legendary Cheltenham Gold Cup clash between Arkle and Mill House in 1964, Channel 4 is broadcast a one-hour documentary ‘Arkle – The Legend Lives On’.
Broadcast on the night before Channel 4′s live coverage of the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the documentary narrated by Alastair Down takes a look at that momentous occasion and reflects on a golden era when Arkle changed the face of jump racing.
It also examines how the legend of Arkle has grown over the past half century and draws upon comparisons with today’s great chasers.
All surviving connections associated with the great horse are featured within the documentary from his work rider Paddy Woods; to head lad Johnny Lumley, Jim Dreaper – son of trainer Tom Dreaper – Cath Walwyn, wife of the late Fulke Walwyn and Stan Mellor, one of the few jockeys ever to have beaten Arkle.
The documentary also features 96-year-old broadcasting legend Sir Peter O’Sullevan, whose evocative commentaries on Arkle’s three successive Gold Cups from 1964-1966 perfectly captured those thrilling occasions.
Other contributors to the documentary include Brough Scott, Hugh McIlvanney, Ted Walsh, Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, racing analyst Donn McClean and senior Irish National Hunt handicapper Noel O’Brien.
The documentary has been produced for Channel 4 by Touchline Media, makers of the Jump Boys documentary which was shown on Channel 4 last year.
Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s Commissioning Editor for Sport, says: “This documentary is a wonderful addition to our vast Cheltenham Festival broadcast and compliments a tremendous week of top class sport on 4 that includes the Paralympic Winter Games.
Denis Kirwan, producer at Touchline Media, said: “Arkle is considered the greatest National Hunt horse of all-time.
“we are delighted to have been commissioned to take a look back at that golden period when the Arkle and Mill House rivalry thrilled racing fans on both sides of the Irish Sea.
“The documentary features many of the great moments in Arkle’s glittering career and it is appropriate that Channel 4 viewers can relive that great era on the 50th anniversary.”
Luke McManus, director of ‘Arkle – The Legend Lives On’, says: “Never before or since has a horse so powerfully captured the public imagination and become a symbol, not just of success, but of hope.
“The story of Arkle is uniquely fascinating. He came to prominence in the 1960, at the time of JFK, the Beatles, George Best & Muhammad Ali.
“Just like them, Arkle was sublimely talented, charismatic and ultimately, iconic. In Ireland, Arkle still inspires devotion.
“As Brough Scott says in the film ‘It’s much more than just a racing story…it’s about a nation yearning for something’.”
Arkle – The Legend Lives On will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursday, March 13 at 11.00pm and will also be available to view online via Channel 4′s catch-up service 4OD.
The documentary supports Channel 4′s extensive coverage of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, which runs from March 11-14.

Luke McManus Coming Up

Congratulations to Irish director Luke McManus (Psych Ward) who has been selected to take part in Channel 4’s Coming Up scheme. The scheme offers a platform to emerging writers and directors to produce a season of original half hour dramas, which will be shown on Channel 4.
Luke McManus was shortlisted as one of 14 directors, after sending his showreel to the Coming Up panel. The Irish director then took part in a two day workshop alongside the shortlisted writers in London, where they got to work with talent and meet industry professionals including head of Warp Films Robin Gutch and DOP of ‘Hurt Locker’ and ‘United 93’ Barry Ackroyd.

McManus has previously worked as a freelance director on television shows including ‘Room To Improve’, ‘No Place Like Home’ and ‘The Eleventh Hour’ and has made short films including ‘Danger High Voltage’ and ‘Monitor’, the latter of which was made through the RTÉ/Arts Council Dance On The Box Scheme. McManus was also behind the RTÉ Storyland competitor ‘Psych Ward’, starring Hugh O’Conor (Killing Bono, Your Bad Self) in 2009.

Directors in the Coming up Scheme are now paired with a writer, and will go on to film the short in 2012, before the final half an hour programme will be aired on Channel 4 in Autumn of next year.

Last year Channel 4/Touchpaper Television Coming Up Scheme saw IFTA winning filmmaker Cathy Brady (Small Change) direct ‘Rough Skin’. ‘Rough Skin’ stars BAFTA winning actress Vicky McClure (This is England) and Lorraine Ashbourne (Oranges and Sunshine) and follows a young woman on her release from prison as she if forced to confront a painful past.