October 11, 2019 – RTÉ and Acorn Media Enterprises (AME) have partnered to commission The South Westerlies, an Irish comedy-drama with Dublin based Deadpan Pictures, alongside ZDF Enterprises, TV2 Norway and in association with Screen Ireland. Filming rolled into action in mid-September and the ten week shoot will roll until mid-November. The shoot locations include Wicklow town and Cork in Ireland and Oslo in Norway. Anagram Norway are providing production services in Oslo.
When a small coastal town in the south-west of Ireland is earmarked for a Norwegian-owned wind farm, it’s not just the spectacular scenery that’s under pressure. For a single working mother, tasked with going undercover to bring the project home, her eco-battle is compounded by the return of a crinkly-eyed surfer with an unmistakable resemblance to her teenage son.
The South Westerlies is created by Catherine Maher and written by Catherine Maher, Hugh Travers, Hilary Reynolds and Michelle Duffy. The six part series is directed by Simon Gibney (Doctors Nowhere Fast) and Declan Recks (Drop Dead Weird, The Flag, Pure Mule).
Acorn Media Enterprises with its distributor Acorn Media International, has secured all rights in North America, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom; and secondary rights in Ireland. ZDF Enterprises will distribute the series in the rest of the world. The South Westerlies will premiere in 2020 on RTÉ in Ireland and shortly thereafter on AMC Networks’ streaming service Acorn TV in the United States as an Acorn TV Original.
The South Westerlies boasts an impressive ensemble of acclaimed actors including, Orla Brady (American Horror Story, Mistresses,) as Kate, Eileen Walsh (Catastrophe, Women on the Verge, Can’t Cope Won’t Cope) as Breege, Ger Ryan (Little Dog, Rialto, Raw) as Noreen, Sam Barrett as Conor, Lily Nichol (MJ, Handymen) as Poppy, Steve Wall (Vikings, An Klondike, Rebellion) as Baz and Patrick Bergin (Sleeping with the Enemy, Patriot Games, EastEnders, Red Rock) as Michael.
Based in Dublin, Kate Ryan is working as an Environmental Compliance consultant for Norwegian energy giant Noreg Oil, she’s on the verge of a lucrative promotion and transfer to HQ in Oslo. But there’s a caveat; a final assignment for NorskVentus (Noreg Oil’s new wind-power subsidiary).
Despite getting planning permission for their wind farm, offshore from the West Cork town of Carrigeen, ongoing local protests are creating a PR nightmare. Kate must go undercover to Carrigeen, quash objections before the six-week Appeals deadline and smooth the path for imminent turbine installation, or her promotion is off the table. She’s furious, and her son Conor’s not pleased either. Six weeks with his mother in West Cork wasn’t on his summer agenda. But uppermost in Kate’s mind is keeping old secrets firmly under wraps.
“As a public service media organisation, creating and delivering original Irish drama and comedy in partnership with the independent production sector is an important part of RTÉ’s role. We’re very proud to support and develop this exciting project with such a talented cast. It’s been great working together with Deadpan Pictures, Acorn, Screen Ireland and ZDF Enterprises to bring this new homegrown six-part drama from script to screen for our viewers on RTÉ One” said Shane Murphy, RTÉ’s Group Head of Drama and Comedy.
“With an impressive ensemble cast led by Orla Brady, a picturesque setting, and first-rate writing, The South Westerlies will definitely interest Acorn TV’s subscribers and audiences worldwide. Acorn is excited to be working with our friends at RTÉ, Deadpan Pictures, Screen Ireland, and ZDF Enterprises to produce another high-quality drama,” said Catherine Mackin, Managing Director of Acorn Media Enterprises.
“The South Westerlies is very much a series for our climate-changing-times, an ensemble comedy drama set in a picturesque seaside town divided. It’s warm and funny, while also shot through with darker shenanigans. Alongside our brilliant cast and crew, it’s great to be partnering again with Acorn, RTÉ, ZDF Enterprises and Screen Ireland to bring The South Westerlies to both Irish and international audiences alike,” said Ailish McElmeel, Co-founder, Deadpan Pictures.
“We are thrilled to add this exciting drama series to our slate. It combines entertainment, suspense and ‘something for the soul’. The compelling mix of Irish and Norwegian elements in the series will be a must have for every channel in 2020,” said Robert Franke, ZDF Enterprises‘ VP ZDFE.drama.
“We are delighted to support the development and production of The South Westerlies as part of Screen Ireland’s new focus on episodic TV drama. Deadpan Pictures is a dynamic Irish company going from strength to strength, with a growing slate of high-end comedy and drama TV shows. With The South Westerlies, Catherine Maher has created an unapologetically warm and funny piece of Sunday night entertainment. The show will bring Irish talent and images of Ireland to audiences across the US and worldwide.” Teresa McGrane, Deputy Chief Executive, Screen Ireland.
The South Westerlies is series produced by Ailish McElmeel, Deadpan Pictures and produced by Candida Julian-Jones. Executive producers include Shane Murphy and Justin Healy for RTÉ, Catherine Mackin and Bea Tammer from Acorn Media Enterprises, Paul Donovan for Deadpan Pictures, Ann Kolbjørnsen and Ole Marius Araldsen for Anagram.
The South Westerlies is produced by Deadpan Pictures (Ireland) in association with RTÉ, Acorn TV with its UK-based development division Acorn Media Enterprises, ZDF Enterprises and Screen Ireland.
The South Westerlies comes on the heels of recent RTÉ co-production drama series’ including Taken Down, Finding Joy, Women on the Verge and Striking Out. Acorn Media Enterprises co-produced Striking Out and Finding Joy and also premiered Taken Down in the U.S.
Date: Friday October 11th 2019
RTÉ Communications: Laura Fitzgerald / +353 872923931 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Acorn TV Press Contact: Chad Campbell, 301.830.6203, email@example.com
ZDF Enterprises Press Contact: Christine Denilauler / 0049 6131 991-1130 / Christine.Denilauler@zdf-enterprises.de
RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is Ireland’s national public-service media organisation. RTÉ commissions a broad range of high-quality programming and content to meet the needs of multiple audiences. Further information can be found here: https://www.rte.ie/about/en/how-rte-is-run/2014/0310/601244-about-rte/
About Acorn TV
AMC Networks’ Acorn TV is North America’s leading streaming service specializing in British and international television and with its development division Acorn Media Enterprises has commissioned several series, including Agatha Raisin, Series 2 and Series 3 starring Ashley Jensen; the straight-to-series order of British drama London Kills; and fun British mystery Queens of Mystery; as well as co-commissioned Irish period mystery series Dead Still and New Zealand thriller The Sounds. In 2019, Acorn TV has featured the U.S. premiere of ITV’s highest rated drama in the past six years with true crime drama Manhunt, and UK’s highest rated show of the year and from the creator of Bodyguard with Line of Duty, Season 5; plus Australian mystery series My Life is Murder starring Lucy Lawless (Xena) and the return of smash hit British dramedy Doc Martin, Series 9.
About AMC Networks
Known for its groundbreaking and celebrated original content, AMC Networks is the company behind the award-winning brands AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv, and IFC Films. Its diverse line-up of popular and critically-acclaimed series and independent films include Killing Eve, Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead, which has been the #1 show on basic cable television for nine consecutive years, as well as Portlandia, Brockmire, Love After Lockup, and the films Boyhood, Death of Stalin, and many more. Its original series Mad Men and Breaking Bad are widely recognized as being among the most influential and acclaimed shows in the history of TV. The Company also operates AMC Studios, its production business; AMC Networks International, its international programming business; the subscription streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now; Acorn TV; and UMC (Urban Movie Channel); and Levity Entertainment Group, the Company’s production services and comedy venues business. For more information, visit http://www.amcnetworks.com.