RTÉ Television Unwraps Christmas Schedule


RTÉ Television today unveiled a big festive line-up of programming with something for everyone during the Christmas season.


With a schedule packed with home-produced entertainment, big movie premieres, lifestyle, drama, young people’s, documentaries and sports programming, as well as special seasonal versions of viewer favourites, RTÉ Television brings you a bumper Christmas schedule.


Big Christmas entertainment comes courtesy of some of Ireland’s top television and comedy talent. After a hugely successful second series, the multi-award-winning comedy phenomenon Mrs Brown’s Boys is back on RTÉ One this December with two spectacularly funny Christmas Specials. The much-loved TV series School Around the Corner returns for a very special programme this Christmas hosted by Ray D’Arcy.  PJ Gallagher has fun in The Great Big Surprise Party as he enlists the help of friends and family to organise a surprise party for a special lady on a big birthday. TV50: Nighthawks Rehashed is an hour-long, one-off special taking an affectionate look back at the seminal chat show and featuring the best comedy, music and vintage interviews from the 289 episodes of the four series broadcast.  In I’ve Got Your Back Brian Dowling presents a pilot for a brand new family game show in which contestants stake their cash prize on their family’s ability to answer six general knowledge questions.


Join RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio and RTÉ.ie to ring in the New Year and celebrate the official launch of The Gathering 2013, live from College Green in Dublin.  Join Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ One television and John Creedon on RTÉ Radio 1, while all the action and atmosphere will be streamed live on RTÉ.ie.


With more than 90 movies on the Christmas schedules across RTÉ One and RTÉ Two, there’s a movie for everyone to curl up with over the Christmas period.  Movie premieres on RTÉ Television this Christmas include Up, It’s Complicated, Avatar, Leap Year, Saltthe original Swedish versions of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest and The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Social Network, Four Christmases, Tangled and Alice In Wonderland.  Other great titles include Waltz With Bashir and The Secret Of Kells.


Christmas favourites include Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, Scrooged, A Golden Christmas, Christmas Cupid, Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause, Joyeux Noel, Christmas Mail, The Chronicles Of Narnia, The Wish List and Home Alone.


Classic movies include Gone With The Wind, Back To The Future, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Doctor Zhivago, North By Northwest, The Seven Year Itch, Blazing Saddles, The Guns Of Navarone,  A Time To Kill, Notorious, Sense & Sensibilityand The Sound Of Music.


Blockbusters on RTÉ this Christmas include Walk The Line, 2012, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Family Stone, Duplicity, About A Boy, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Assault on Precinct 13, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull, I Love You Man, Blades of Glory, Inglorious Basterds and Fight Club.


And Children’s movies include Happy Feet, The Princess And The Frog, Kung Fu Panda, Wallace & Gromit and Monsters vs Aliens.


This Christmas some of the best known actors in Ireland come together to embarrass themselves with pride and embrace their immature side in a sketch-show comedy special to raise money and awareness for St Francis Hospice, Raheny. Immatürity for Charity features a whole host of Ireland’s top thespians including Domhnall Gleeson, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Huberman, Robbie Sheehan, Hugh O’Conor, Brian Gleeson, David Wilmot and many more.  And RTÉ Television brings you some of the biggest names in comedy with Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.


Music fans have much to look forward to over Christmas as Michael Bublé: Home for the Holidays sees the multi-Grammy Award-winning singer return with his brand new star-studded holiday Christmas special. Joe Dolan – Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller brings together those who knew one of Ireland’s most iconic entertainers best to celebrate the life and times of this much-loved performer.  For One Night Only celebrates the musical genius of Sharon Shannon in a special Christmas edition.  Stepping Out With Katherine Jenkins is a 75-minute special, in which the talented mezzo-soprano showcases a series of spectacular song and dance routines in an evening of glitz and glamour.  Mumford & Sons Road to Redrocks, is a live concert film of the Mumford & Sons amphitheatre shows in Colorado earlier this year.  And Amy Winehouse: The Day She Came to Dingle tells the story of a very special visit to the Other Voices set by Amy Winehouse.  Featuring her entire performance and the complete interview with John Kelly, the programme goes back to Dingle to catch up with some of the people that Amy met on that day.


RTÉ brings you a range of fascinating documentaries and special Christmas editions. Coal, Frankenstein & Mirror is an affectionate look at the build up to the day of the Nativity Play in four schools around the country as the directors, teachers, pupils and families go through the highs and lows, the tricky bits and triumphs of their annual festive celebration.


In the Local Heroes Christmas Special Joe Duffy goes around the country to visit the towns that have taken up the Local Heroes challenge to work together to create jobs. The Zoo: A Christmas Special sees the popular series return for a one-off special with lots of Christmas fun, featuring all our favourite keepers and animals and a whole lot more.


Space Dive: The Story Of One Man’s Leap tells the story of sky diver Felix Baumgartner’s history-making 23-mile free fall to Earth from space in October this year and the four-year journey behind it.  Louis Theroux Does Porn sees Louis Theroux return to the world of male porn performers in Los Angeles 15 years after his first documentary on the subject to find a business struggling with the deluge of free porn on the internet. Louis revisits some of the original programme’s contributors as well as meeting the latest crop of porn performers dreaming of porn stardom.


Sports fans will be spoiled for choice as RTÉ brings a variety of great sports documentaries and live coverage.  Jimmy’s Winnin’ Matches is the story of the Donegal football team and their extraordinary journey to Croke Park this year under the steely stewardship of Jim Mc Guinness. When Ali Came To Ireland is the story of the legend’s visit to Dublin in 1972 for his fight with Al ‘Blue’ Lewis.  In Rory McIlroy:The Interview RTÉ Sport’s Greg Allen does a candid and in-depth interview with World No 1 Rory McIlroy.  The RTÉ Sports Awards in association with The Irish Sports Council will see a host of Irish sporting stars in attendance for one of the best sport events of the year.  First takes viewers on a gripping Olympic journey as 12 athletes in 12 different countries stand on the brink of adulthood and prepare to take their place as superheroes at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Euro 2012: The Score is a cinematic exploration of the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament through the eyes of both players and fans.  And we bring viewers live Racing From Leopardstown plus all the action from the RaboDirect PRO12 and Premier Soccer Saturday


For lovers of food and lifestyle programming the festive line up is sure to appeal with Christmas specials from many of RTÉ Television’s favourite food series. Rachel Allen has some great ideas for something slightly different in Rachel Allen Christmas Cake Diaries with recipes for Clementine cake, mincemeat muffins with eggnog icing, spiced pear and ginger cheesecake and a Christmas cake made from rich fruit sponge covered in baked almond paste. In his Kitchen Hero Christmas Special Donal Skehan travels to Austria to get inspiration for some sweet festive treats, where he cooks apple strudel and Zelten, an Austrian Christmas cake and visits a Christmas market and a Schnapps distillery, as well as sampling the local delicacies. Kevin Dundon’s Christmas Made Easy is Kevin’s step-by step-guide to Christmas dinner to help take the stress out of the big day and leave you with moist turkey, tasty sprouts and a happy family.


In the Room to Improve Christmas Special architect Dermot Bannon is commissioned by National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght to rescue a forlorn and rundown balcony space on the first floor and create an outdoor garden and recreation area for children and their families.  Don’t Tell The Bride, Happily Married gathers together six couples from the previous two series to give us the real story of what it was really like to get married under the TV spotlight with a clueless groom in charge and a bride kept in the dark. And whether or not there was hell to pay or was it all happy ever after. 


The drama continues in Fair City as Ireland’s most popular soap ramps up the drama for the festive season, including an hour-long Christmas Day edition. This Christmas in Carrigstown, Judith and Tommy try to put a turbulent year behind them, but is Luke the ghost of Christmas past for Judith?  And where does she disappear to on Christmas Day?  Eddie is enthusiastically inviting his neighbours to his mum Val’s house, but does he have an ulterior motive? How is Dermot going to cope with having Jo and Maeve in the house on Christmas Day? Thankfully, Orla will be there to referee. Cass has promised a Christmas feast for Bela and Yvonne but can he deliver?


Younger viewers have lots to look forward to as Christmas arrives at all their favourite programmes. Jedward will make dreams come true for children from all over Ireland when they return with a new series of OMG! Jedward’s Dream Factory.  Life’s Like This is a half-hour documentary created from footage sent in by hundreds of young people from all over Ireland one day in September giving a snapshot of what life is like for young people. In elev8 Ivan, Diana and Sean get set for Christmas with their Christmas Countdown Calendar, the Christmas song and video and the bumper hamper giveaway plus lots more.  Two Tube has a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway and Stephen, Bláthnaid and Sinéad go all Kris Kindle. Join Emma and Óige as they go on a Christmas Treasure Trail.  On the RTÉjr Workshop, Reuben and Bó write their letters for Santa, make their own greeting cards and have a snowball fight.  Donie and Nora are busily working backstage as everyone gets ready for the Christmas Special Beo Show.  Santa comes to town in The Curious World of Professor Fun and Dr. Dull. The Magic Circus Show follows three Irish children as they prepare to take part in the prestigious The Magic Circus Show event in Geneva, Switzerland.


RTÉ News has some special programmes over the festive season. In the RTÉ News Review of the Yearpresenters and correspondents outline their top stories from 2012. Highlights include the US Elections, political and business stories and the Olympics.  In Behind Closed Doors – 1982the year of GUBU, the Falklands, and two general elections – David McCullagh explores what secret Government papers released after 30 years can tell us about that year.  Based on newly opened archives in Dublin, London and Belfast, it features interviews with some of those closely involved in those events.   And on the news2day Review of the Year presenters Conor McNally and Carla O’Brien look back at the past year, with plenty of contributions from talented young people.


Highlights from this year’s Christmas religious programmes include Carols From The Castle as Mary Kennedy presents a spectacular Christmas celebration from Dublin Castle, featuring Sinead O’Connor, The Coronas’ frontman Danny O’Reilly, The Voice of Ireland’s winner, Pat Byrne, Frankie Gavin & Friends, Waterford City Brass, TeenSpirit and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.  Midnight Mass is celebrated in the parish of St. Thomas The Apostle, Laurel Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin by Fr Michael Cullen PP with the Bealtaine Music Group led by Rosalind O’Dowd.Children’s Mass on Christmas Day comes from the same parish and is celebrated by Fr. Dan Joe O’Mahony OFM. Cap with the Laurel Lodge Children’s Choir led by Loyola Cullen.  A Service for Christmas Day is celebrated with staff and students of Kings Hospital school, Palmerstown, Dublin.  Pope Benedict XVI offers his traditional message to the world from St Peter’s Basilica in Rome in Urbi Et Orbiwith commentary by Fr Thomas McCarthy, O.P. His Eminence Cardinal Séan Brady and the Most Rev. Richard Clarke, the newly enthroned Church of Ireland Primate and Archbishop of Armagh, share their thoughts and prayers for the Christmas season in A Christmas Message from The Archbishops of Armagh


Glen Killane, Managing Director, RTÉ Television said; ‘It’s been a tough year for everyone so at this special time of year we’re delighted to be able to put on a Christmas with plenty for our viewers to enjoy.  I’m proud to unveil such a strong and varied Christmas schedule full of great home-produced programming and the best of international movies and in such challenging economic times. We wish all our viewers a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and the very best for the New Year.’


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