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Ireland

Brendan Grace, Mrs Brown and 8 Harry Potters: A look at RTÉ and Virgin Media's Christmas schedules

RTÉ AND VIRGIN Media both announced their Christmas television schedules today with two specials dedicated to the late Brendan Grace leading the charge for the national broadcaster, while Virgin Media will show all eight Harry Potter films.

To commemorate the comedian’s death in July, RTÉ will broadcast Brendan Grace Thanks for the Memories: The Concert, a one-off programme featuring the cream of Ireland’s show business crop as they pay tribute to the comic at the Olympia Theatre.

Brendan Grace – A Late Late Tribute will take a look back at his most memorable moments on The Late Late Show. 

In a year of notable Irish losses, Niall Tóibín and his lasting legacy will also be remembered.

Keeping with tradition, Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas specials returns with guest star Kevin Kennedy (aka Coronation Street’s Curly Watts).

The documentary No Planet B: The Day We Took the Dáil will follow three, young, Irish climate change supporters as they march for urgent action at Leinster House, while Leaving Limbo is the story of teenage best friends Natasha and Minahil, who grew up in Athlone as asylum seekers and are now navigating the tricky task of the Leaving Cert. 

Richard Curran will present Ireland’s Rich List: 21st Century Hotshots, which goes through the country’s top 30 billionaires and millionaires.

Source: YouTube

For those in search of a film to watch this festive season, RTÉ will screen Beauty and the Beast, Paddington 2, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Damo and Ivor: The Movie, Office Christmas Party, Storks, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Santa Claus 2, Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire, Indiana Jones and Back to the Future.

Their Irish film line-up includes Float Like A Butterfly with Hazel Doube as a woman champion boxer and The Christmas Letter, a new Irish animation based on the true story of a Christmas letter to Santa found in Terenure with the voices of Catriona Balfe and Fiona Shaw. 

floats like a butterfly A scene from Floats Like A Butterfly. Source: RTE

Virgin Media will screen some Christmas classics, including Home Alone, Love Actually, The Wizard of Oz and The Snapper. 

The Emmerdale and Coronation Street dramatic Christmas Day episodes will play out post-turkey, while some of the station’s Christmas specials include The Graham Norton Show, The Celebrity Chase and the Jonathan Ross show. 

Donal Skehan, among others, will be cooking on RTÉ.

RTÉ financial situation has been under considerably pressure in recent years, recording losses of €20 million in 2016 and €13 million in 2018. Director General Dee Forbes has called for changes to the TV licence structure to offset losses.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media are to ballot for industrial action after the broadcaster announced it was cutting dozens of jobs.

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