RTÉ and Irish Film Board announce joint funding initiative for new comedy

September 2017

RTÉ today announced that it has formed a new partnership with the Irish Film Board to support new Irish scripted comedy projects, with export potential.

Following the success of shows like Can’t Cope Won’t Cope and Bridget & Eamon, which have been sold to the BBC and UK TV respectively, and the upcoming series based on the hugely successful film, The Young Offenders, RTÉ is now calling for proposals for half-hour scripted comedies, which have the potential to be picked up by international distributors and/or international broadcasters. To that end, participation in this initiative requires producers to source additional financial investment from international distributors/broadcasters, which, at a minimum, matches RTÉ’s investment at pilot and series stage.

RTÉ Head of Comedy Eddie Doyle said: 'We want to help bring the next generation of Irish comedy talent to the world. There are so many, extraordinarily talented writers, performers, producers and directors, coming out of Ireland at the moment, and at the same time, the appetite for Irish comedy, at home and abroad, has never been greater. We are thrilled to be working with the Irish Film Board, and we want to use this initiative to find new partners, in our mission to serve Irish talent and Irish audiences.’

Dermot Horan, RTÉ Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions said: ‘'We know comedy is a tough nut to crack, but when you do you can strike gold. This initiative by RTÉ and the Irish Film Board will allow projects to develop and then go to fully broadcast pilots, where we can test their popular appeal. We expect this to be really attractive to the international distribution market, who are already familiar with RTÉ from our successful Format Farm non-fiction scheme.'

The scheme will have three phases: an initial selection of 10 projects for development (funded by RTÉ and the IFB); the selection of four of these to proceed to broadcast pilot (funded by RTÉ and IFB, with producers being asked to source additional funding from international sources); and finally, one of these pilots will proceed to a full series (funding from RTÉ plus international funding). Projects may also qualify for the s481 tax break at both pilot and series phase - which will add further funding to the scheme.

James Hickey, Chief Executive Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said: ‘We are delighted to be working with RTÉ on this new initiative, which will support four new comedy TV series projects to pilot stage. Our aim is to further develop the depth of Irish comedy writing talent across TV drama. Irish audiences traditionally love home grown comedies with films such as The Young Offenders, The Stag, The Hardy Bucks and older titles such as Intermission and Man About Dog proving to be major hits at the Irish box office. We hope this pilot scheme will discover new creative talent, resulting in screen storytelling which will be successful with Irish and international audiences.