My Broken Brain

Over 700,000 people in Ireland suffer from some form of neurological condition.  As this number is set to increase as the population ages, the importance of brain research cannot be underestimated.  Over the course of this programme, we follow patients experiencing four such conditions; Epilepsy, Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease – as they undergo testing, surgery and treatment.

In this documentary, we meet former actor and theatre producer 60 year old Ronan Smith from Blessington, Co. Wicklow, who is living with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s: Familial Alzheimer’s Disease. Ronan had first hand experience of Alzheimer’s from his father, a significant force in the Irish theatre scene. Almost ten years ago, Ronan began to notice some similarities in his own behaviour, comparable to that of his father, 30 years previously. We follow Ronan as he comes to the decision to stop working as theatre producer.  He attends St James’s Hospital under Professor Brian Lawlor for regular check ups and memory testing.  His two children – Hannah and Loughlin – consider the realisation that this condition may also have been handed down to them. They have a 50/50 chance of developing this disease, and genetic testing is an option for them down the line.

Another condition featured in this documentary is Epilepsy.  37,000 people have Epilepsy in Ireland and there are 130 deaths every year. In most cases it can be controlled with medication, but some forms are intractable or hard to treat, and surgery, although high risk, is the best option. 40 year old Brian Byrne from Swords is one such patient. Brian has very severe intractable epilepsy which has affected him since his was an infant.  He has multiple seizures daily, and recently they have become more violent and life threatening.  We follow Brian as he attends Beaumont Hospital, under neurosurgeon Mr Donncha O’Brien, as he has a high risk ‘awake craniotomy’, to attempt to remove the epilepsy causing tissue from deep within his brain.

Motor Neurone Disease is another serious brain condition that is featured.  This is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurons, or nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting. Originally from the Naul, 47 year old Billy Reilly was diagnosed with MND in August 2015. Deeply involved in GAA all of his life, Billy is now in a wheelchair, and has little use of his legs, but can still use his arms and hands. We follow Billy, his wife Sharon, daughters Lauren and Rebecca and son Billy as he takes part in a clinical trial under Professor Orla Hardiman – and discover whether or not the results have been successful.

Finally, in the documentary is Professor Tim Lynch’s Neurological Institute in Dublin. This centre treats patients with various movement disorders. Two such patients are 50 year old Cynthia Gardner and 52 year old Gary Boyle, both of whom have an early onset of Parkinson’s Disease. We follow both Gary and Cynthia, as they try to live with the disease and combat it’s progression.

The contributors know that it may be too late for them, but all are willing participants in the science and research battles to find, if not a cure, then a better way to manage their condition. Their futures may be written but their present day stories are ones of resilience, love and family in the face of huge adversity.

Produced by indiepics for RTÉ One, 1 x 60′ documentary

This Crowded House

This Crowded House is a new four part series for RTÉ2 that intervenes in the not-so-unusual phenomenon of adults in their 20s and 30s who are living at home with their parents. In July, latest figures from the Central Statistics Office revealed that almost 460,000 adults over 18 still live at home. It confirms the Eurostat 2016 survey that found that almost 23% – or 1 in 4 Irish adults – over 25 are living in the family home.

Presented by Brendan Courtney, This Crowded House follows the journey of eight different Irish families as their adult children try to figure out how to move out. Brendan helps these adult children explore their options in this current tricky housing market, as well as helping them get on the right financial path to independent futures, calling on the necessary expertise where needed.

‘This Crowded House’ RTÉ Two 4 x 60′ factual format

Ear to the Ground

Outside of the Late Late Show, Ear to the Ground is the longest running show on Irish television and continues to deliver strong audiences in its primetime Thursday slot year on year – for the last 25 years.

The series is of and about rural Ireland with a broad focus on agriculture. It tackles hard issues as well as feature pieces that reflect the lives of rural dwellers. ETTG magazine format remains fresh and relevant through the stories it tells and has won many awards for excellence in journalism.

‘Ear to the Ground’ RTÉ One, 16 x 30′ factual series (22 series)

Painting the Nation

The search for Ireland’s best amateur painter is back on RTÉ One for a second season, with host Pauline McLynn and judges Una Sealy and Gabhann Dunne putting seven new artists to the test.

Painting the Nation is a painting competition to uncover and showcase the best amateur painting talent in the country. Over the next five weeks, inspired by the works of great Irish artists including Mary Swanzy and Jack B Yeats, the series follows the septet of painters travelling around Ireland, finding inspiration at some of the country’s most beautiful and iconic locations.

Pauline McLynn, whose CV includes a BA in History of Art alongside her many TV and theatre roles, is there every step of the way to shepherd the artists through the highs and lows as they compete.

In episode one, Pauline meets the artists, hailing from Dublin to Galway, Cork to Clare. These construction workers, baristas, full-time mums, computer programmers, community development workers, and teachers from across Ireland all share a dream of painting for a living. Over the series, they take on painting and drawing challenges, with one artist leaving the competition each week. The winner’s painting is acquired by the Office of Public Works for the state art collection.

Painting against the clock, the painters will showcase their talents in the hope of impressing the judges, professional artists Una Sealy and Gabhann Dunne, who push the painters to their creative limits with challenges that include still-life, landscape and portrait. The final Exhibition Challenge each week is the true test of the artists’ skill and technique and determines who leaves and who stays in the competition.

This time out, Exhibition Challenge subjects range from the rich foliage of the National Botanic Gardens, the unique coastline of North Clare to capturing the movement and energy of boxing, a portrait of a very recognisable face, and the historic Birr Castle.

Not only must our painters impress the judges to win a coveted place in the final – but they must also impress the people of the places they visit. Weekly, the final paintings are exhibited to locals who are invited to give their views on the art, but ultimately the judges decide which painter will be named the Painter of the Week, and who will make it to the next stage.

The series culminates with a final Exhibition Challenge set at Birr Castle Gardens and Science Centre. Which painting of this medieval castle will be judged good enough to take a place in the OPW’s collection and go on display in Dublin Castle?

‘Painting the Nation’ RTÉ One 1 x 60′, 4 x 30′ (two series)



Trauma is an ambitious four-part documentary series on RTÉ2 giving viewers an unprecedented insight into the high pressured, outstanding and skilful work carried out in the intense world of trauma and medical emergency in Ireland. From Emergency Department staff to surgeons, nurses and intensive care specialists – a chain of people who deal with cardiac arrests, head injuries, road traffic accidents and workplace incidents.

A ‘traumatic’ injury is a serious injury to the body – from either physical violence or an accident – and one which requires crucial immediate medical attention. There are approximately 1,600 ‘major’ traumas (traumas with potential to cause prolonged disability or death) annually in Ireland, and while the optimum service may be an integrated trauma system, currently patients are treated in the hospital best suited to the nature of the injury.

In this series, we focus on four hospitals and the incredible work carried out by the medical staff: cardiac and spinal trauma in The Mater Hospital, neuro-trauma in Beaumont Hospital; emergency care in St. Vincent’s Hospital and orthopaedic trauma and emergency in the Adelaide and Meath (Tallaght) Hospital. We also see staff from the National Ambulance Service and the Dublin Fire Brigade as they operate the 999 emergency call centres, the very first port of call in the chain of the teams dealing with these specialised cases.

From the moment the resus phone is answered in the Emergency Department, the medical staff race to prepare for the pending arrival of the trauma patient. The following minutes, hours and days are possibly the most crucial that the trauma patient will have ever faced in their life. If they survive, they may face a very different future than the one they had anticipated.

In each episode we follow the progress of several patients – from admission to hospital – to as close to the end of their medical treatment as possible – following each step of their medical care along the way. We have interviewed staff who talk intimately about working in such an adrenaline fuelled environment. The patients and their families also talk reflectively about their experience.

Trauma tells both the emotive and dramatic story of the patient as well as highlighting the collaborative, high risk and exceptionally skillful work carried out by the medical teams.

Trauma, RTÉ Two 4 x 52′

DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond Distribution

You Should Really See a Doctor

Dr Pixie McKenna and Dr Phil Kiernan are back with their pop up clinic to events across the country for the third series of their RTÉ One medical series You Should Really See A Doctor.

As well as the usual lumps, bumps and fungal toe infections – in this series the doctors try to find a diagnosis for a man with mysterious but persistent mouth ulcers; a woman with severe pelvic girdle pain; a farmer with a strange burning sensation in his feet; a lecturer with chronic earache and a woman with scarring from chicken pox.

The doctors also find time to give breast check lessons to the attendees of the Blue Jean Country Queen Festival; testicular cancer checks to the boy racers at a Classic Car Show in Limerick: give urine tests to check dehydration to a gnarly gang of vikings at the Waterford Country Fair and give sound advice to music loving teenagers at the Irish Maritime Fesitval in Drogheda.

And in a new addition to each episode the doctors will explore different areas of consumer health – from cutting edge research around gut health and its relationship to mental health; different treatments for the menopause; and the danger of buying prescription drugs online.

‘You Should Really See a Doctor’ RTÉ One 6 x 30′ fact ent format (three series)

DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond Distribution

Big Week on the Farm

With an even bigger set, a bigger live studio audience, and a bigger host family, this year, Big Week on the Farm promises to entertain and educate like never before. Ella McSweeney and Áine Lawlor, will present the show, LIVE from 7pm each night from a purpose built studio on the fields of the Shalvey Family’s dairy farm, in the Breffni County.

The first week of April, is one of the busiest weeks of the year for farmers, as the land welcomes new life once again. From April 3rd, every evening at 7pm on RTÉ One, Ella McSweeney, Áine Lawlor, and celebrity guest presenters Ruby Walsh, Al Porter, Vogue Williams, Pat Shortt and Aoibhín Garrihy, will descend on the Shalvey family’s dairy farm, amidst the chaos of spring calving and milking.

The Big Week on the Farm studio will play host to a 150-strong live studio audience, in a field on rolling drumlin hills where the cattle of Patrick and Geraldine Shalvey usually graze.

Patrick and Geraldine and their children Enda (20), Colm (18) and Aoife (16), are our host farmers this year. The family have been farming for generations and Enda is an Agricultural Science student in UCD.

The Shalvey farm is home to a vast array of wildlife. Great-crested grebe compete with heron and kingfisher for food in one of Cavan’s 365 lakes; buzzards fly in search of carrion and small animals; and mink and pine-marten roam freely with deer and foxes. With the help of animal behaviour experts, hidden cameras and drones, the Shalvey family will learn about the covert lives of some of Ireland’s most fascinating wild animals.

In unique and beautifully filmed footage, Big Week on the Farm will look at the secret lives of farm animals, as we peer inside the egg-shell at a growing chick’s embryo; we take a look at the steamy behaviour of a bull in a field of cows, we’ll see how apprehensive sheep-dog pups react when they first meet a flock of sheep, and what happens when heart-broken donkeys are separated from their life partners.

Meanwhile, our location presenters Darragh McCullough and Helen Carroll will be linking in live from ten different farms across the country; two different farms a night. They’ll witness the laying of snail caviar in Leinster, the birth of a baby buffalo calf in Cork, the arrival of 300 new-born goslings on a farm in Meath, farm-to-fork pork production in Donegal and a sheep-dairy in Mayo, to name a few.

Big Week on the Farm will also explore new technologies in farming. We’ll see UCD researchers working to uncover how traits in old varieties of wild barley can be re-introduced to Ireland’s biggest crop to improve yields and reduce fertiliser use. We’ll analyse the Shalvey farmland using drone technology and sensors. And GAA star Shane O’Donnell lets us film inside his stomach and intestines to see how his body digests protein.

Following from the success of last year’s sheep shearing Guinness World Record with Ivan Scott, this year, the Big Week on the Farm team will be hoping to break THREE Guinness World Records. Meanwhile the celebrity guests will be aiming to beat RTÉ Weather’s Siobhan Ryan in ‘Pull the Udder One’ after her huge success in the milking challenge last year.

Each night, on Big Week on the Farm, Ella, Áine and celebrity guests will present live studio demos, discussions, dissections, hatchings and births. From calving, to lambing and laying, Big Week on the Farm provides the nation with real-time access to the incredible lives of Ireland’s farm animals and farmers. Join us as the drama unfolds every night, April 3rd to 7th, from 7pm on RTÉ One.

Viewers can tweet us @RTEOne using the hashtag #onthefarm or email us at or snapchat us with their videos, photographs and messages for broadcast.

‘Big Week on the Farm’ RTÉ One, 5 x 60′ live event (two series)

*Nominated for ‘Best Live Event’ Irish Film and Television Awards 2016*

Doctor in the House

What if a team of doctors invaded your house and every area of your life, work and body? Imagine cholesterol screening as you bite into breakfast, a blood pressure check at your office desk and heart monitoring in front of your telly. A crusading medical team make the ultimate house call but, even when faced with life or death, can a household break the bad habits of a lifetime?

Doctor in the House is now in production on its fourth series for TV3.

‘Doctor in the House’ TV3 6 x 60’ (three series)

Supported by the BAI Sound and Vision Fund and Section 481.


Then Comes Marriage?

Every year in Ireland over 20,000 couples get married. The wedding is usually planned in great and minute detail. Few put the same effort into planning the marriage itself.

In this series couples planning or pondering a life long commitment to each other road-test their relationship at a retreat in County Carlow’s Lisnavagh House. Over two days their relationship will be poked, prodded and dissected by psychotherapist Dr Ray O Neill and psychologist Allison Keating.

Communication skills, sex and intimacy, attitudes to money and conflict management are all put under the microscope. By the end of the retreat the couples should feel better prepared for a life long commitment to each other – though some might feel less certain. For all there will be bumps along the way as they are challenged to really look hard at every aspect of their relationship.

In each episode three couples attend a retreat together. There, over a series of challenges, therapies and experiments they expose their communication dynamic; hear some truths about their partner’s views on money and personal finance; reveal their attitudes to sex; learn that while arguing is perfectly normal, arguing effectively and healthily is something that all couples need to learn.

Each couple submits themselves to intense therapy sessions with the experts as they seek to better understand their relationship now and into the future. These therapy sessions are held both as individual couples sessions but also as group sessions – so as well as gaining insights into their own relationship behaviour, they’ll get a glimpse at how others manage theirs.

Then Comes Marriage? is a very real, very practical and extremely relatable relationship series in a time of fast love and online hook ups. It has something for all – whether you are in a blossoming relationship or married for 20 years. Long term relationship success is not a matter of luck, nor is failure a matter of mystery – it’s preparation, preparation, preparation.

‘Then Comes Marriage?’ RTÉ Two fact ent format

DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Bros International Television Distribution

Ireland’s Property Crisis

In Ireland we are living through one of the worst housing crisis since the foundation of the State. Today there are over 77,000 houses in mortgage arrears, rental demand is far outstripping supply, there are 91,000 people on social housing waiting lists and more than 7,000 people in emergency accommodation.

As policy makers scramble to offer solutions it is clear that we are standing at a crossroads and the decisions that are made now will have a lasting impact on generations to come.

‘Ireland’s Property Crisis’ offers a snapshot of seven days in Ireland with some of those who are on the frontline of the crisis. Whether they are people finding a way out of negative equity, looking for somewhere to rent, resisting eviction, hoping to buy their first home, or simply trying to find a bed for the night, the series gives an in-depth, personal view to help inform a national discussion at this crucial time in our history.

‘Ireland’s Property Crisis’ RTÉ One 2 x 52′ documentary series