ANIMAL rights advocates will be happy to see cat killer Love/Hate character Wayne, played by Barry Keoghan, get- ting his comeuppance tonight when he is gunned down in the finale of the fourth series.
The hit RTE drama series came under fire during its six-week run for a number of scenes involving animal cruel- ty, such as the shooting of a cat in the first episode and dog fighting, which featured throughout the series.
RTE received a total of 91 emails and 27 calls of com- plaint about the cat incident and three emails of complaint regarding the dog fighting, but the creators of Love/Hate believe the complaints were misguided.
"Out of one million viewers, we had a handful of official complaints about the cat," pro- ducer Suzanne McAuley said. "We are making drama. Stuart writes fiction. We have high- lighted animal cruelty, not encouraged it. We do find it quite bizarre that we shoot teenagers dead, smash peo- ple's skulls and the complaints come in about a staged 'dog fight' or a stuffed swan being killed."
Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk last week, Love/Hate writer Stuart Carolan said that while he understood some of the scenes were hard to watch, they were "not randomly try- ing to shock the nation".
The unparalleled star of the gritty drama, Tom Vaugh- an-Lawlor, who plays gang boss Nidge, is set to deliver a showstopping performance in tonight's final episode, which had a profound effect on his fellow cast and crew during filming.
"There is one particular cene in episode six involving Tom, and it is quite simply the most incredibly powerful performance I have ever seen in my life," Ms McAuley told the Sunday Independent exclusively.
"Tom is exceptional. When we filmed it, the entire crew had shivers down their spines and we broke out into massive applause when Tom complet- ed his performance. It was a very special, very magical moment."
Negotiations are also under way about a US remake of the show, but despite rumours of a Love/Hate feature film on the horizon, both RTE and the Love/Hate creators say they are currently focused on it solely as an RTE TV produc- tion.
"Love/Hate is an RTE TV drama. That is what we are focusing on at present," explained Ms McAuley. "This year has been a huge ratings success and we are, of course, delighted with the response. The show changed in direc- tion, it had to, the story need- ed to grow. The response to date has been overwhelming — all involved are delighted and it's giving us great confi- dence for the future of the show."
The fifth series of Love/Hate has not yet been officially commissioned by RTE, however, Mr Carolan has begun the writing process, and with viewing figures from last week's episode at an aver- age of 872,200 with a 52 per cent market share of all tele- vision viewers at the time, it's highly likely it will be back on our screens in the near future.
"Love/Hate brings together the best of Irish talent in pro- ducing, directing, acting and the many areas of high-level crafting involved for a thrilling few weeks of TV drama," head of RTE Television Drama Jane Gogan told the Sunday Inde- pendent last week. "It's been an extraordinary experience for us all and I hope the audi- ence enjoys the last episode of series four until we come back again next year."
Bookmakers Boylesports, who took a four-figure hit last week on the demise of Susan Loughnane's character Debbie, are now hedging their bets, offering punters odds on the series finale reaching over one million viewers, as well as an 18/1 price on Tom Vaughan-Lawlor receiving an Oscar in the next five years.