Gleeson calls for switch on to TG4's full Irish
"IT is a minority sport, but one well worth supporting." To listen to silver-screen legend Brendan Gleeson wax lyrical about TG4, you might think he was talking about a cutting-edge Hollywood studio.
But addressing the channel's autumn launch yesterday, the 'In Bruges' actor was merely trying to stress his strong belief in the importance of Irish-language television.
TG4, as with all publicly funded bodies, has come under increasing financial pressure in recent times.
"We have an opportunity in this generation that might not be there in the future generations, to access all of this culture," said Gleeson at the launch in Dublin's Convention Centre yesterday.
"There is huge respect for people within the programmes and for the people watching. It is an ethos worth supporting."
TG4's budget dropped from a high of €38m in 2009 to just €32.7m this year -- a fall off of around 15pc.
However, this autumn it has attempted to maintain its reputation as a valued niche broadcaster.
The line-up includes a familiar blend of homemade programming and bought-in entertainment.
Irish language documentaries tend to command the most respect and this year's schedule looks like continuing the trend.
'Scealta Atha Cliath' chronicles some of the capital's best known people and places, while 'Cogar' is a series of award-winning documentaries on people who have been "ignored".
Welcoming the line-up, station star Hector O hEochagain said: "We are good at being Irish. We are very good at making our own programmes."