Friday 19 January 2018

'Red Rock' to be cancelled despite its critical success

Patricia Hennessy (played by Cathy Belton) and David Hennessy (played by Adam Weafer) in a scene from TV3 soap ‘Red Rock’
Patricia Hennessy (played by Cathy Belton) and David Hennessy (played by Adam Weafer) in a scene from TV3 soap ‘Red Rock’

Sean O'Grady and Melanie Finn

TV3 looks to be in a state of turmoil ahead of the station's autumn launch as the writing is on the wall for soap 'Red Rock'.

Producers of the show recently released a statement confirming they were postponing production until 2018.

Despite the statement insisting the series was on a temporary hiatus, sources close to the programme said the cast were aware the show was coming to an end.

They said costumes and props were already being sold off.

"Despite what's being said in public, nobody believes the show has a chance of coming back," a source said. "In fact, they're selling off costumes and props. It's game over."

The 'Red Rock' team must also shortly vacate its set at the old John Player cigarette factory site in Dublin as its lease is coming to an end.

"Finding new studios and a new exterior lot will involve huge costs - it would be like setting up the show from scratch all over again," the source explained.

At €65,000 per episode, it cost slightly more to film than RTÉ's 'Fair City', which costs around €55,000.

"Financially, it's just not worth it to TV3. Despite the fact that the show is highly regarded, it is not a ratings winner," the source said.

"Business is business, and TV3 needs its shows to be cost-effective and profitable, as they do not have the benefit of a TV licence to fall back on."

A spokesperson for TV3 declined to comment.

'Red Rock' first aired in January 2015. The show was developed in the wake of TV3 losing the rights to 'Emmerdale' and 'Coronation Street' to rival station UTV Ireland.

At the time, former station chief executive David McRedmond described 'Red Rock' as "the most important thing that TV3 has ever done".

However, the UK soaps returned to TV3 in 2016, when the station's new owners Virgin Media bought UTV Ireland for €10m.

The programme was a hit with critics, who praised the strong acting and engrossing storylines.

Its appeal seemed to be cemented in 2016 after it was successfully sold on to Amazon Prime and the BBC.

It also picked up an Ifta in 2016 for Best Irish Soap.

Irish Independent

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