RTÉ launched their new season via an extended Zoom meeting yesterday.
There were radio reshuffles, new dramas and much discussion of how the Toy Show will look with coronavirus restrictions in place (no Bill Barry children tap dancing across the studio?).
Here we cut through all the boring bits give you a brief run down of what's happening and what to watch out for.
Bryan Dobson has moved to the News at One (now named News at One with Bryan Dobson), Sarah McInerney has handed over The Today Show headphones to Claire Byrne and will now be joining Cormac Ó hEadhra for the Drive Time slot which was previously held by Mary Wilson. Mary will now be starting at the crack of dawn on Morning Ireland with Áine Lawlor. Oh and Katie Hannon will present Saturday with Katie Hannon on RTÉ Radio One. It's a bit of a radio station musical chairs.
A lot of studio-based shows have been placed on a hiatus due to distancing restrictions. So anything filmed in front of a live audience is either being placed on the back-burner or filmed without them.
The Late Late Toy Show is back but this year host Ryan says it will be 'radically different and Covid aware' which doesn't sounds very fun and festive but Ryan is adamant it will be full of frivolities. He also stressed that the entire show will not be conducted via Zoom.
"It'll be just a stretch too far," he said. "So no, we’ll get around it and we’ll do it all within guidelines that are set out by our betters, but yeah we’ll definitely have people in studio."
Joe Duffy is the new host of The Meaning of Life, taking over from late, great broadcaster Gay Byrne. This season he will talk with an eclectic mix of individuals including CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan, Mary Lou McDonald, and Blindboy Boatclub. This is the series that gave us great moments including Stephen Fry blasting the Holy Father, so it should make for a good watch.
Fair City is back. After five months off the air, the inhabitants of Carrigstown will continue their lives while adhering to Covid-19 restrictions. Sadly all romantic storylines have been vetoed until cast members are allowed to kiss again - so no steamy scenes involving Mondo I'm afraid.
RTÉ's unlikely sex symbol Dermot Bannon has also returned with Dermot Bannon’s Incredible Homes. Other perennial favourites include Home Rescue, It’s a Park’s Life, The Zoo, and would it even be an RTÉ launch if John Creedon wasn't there? He is back with a new series of Creedon's Atlas of Ireland.
Loveable TV host Baz Ashmawy fronts DIY SOS: The Big Build, which sees tradespeople and locals band together to help improve the quality of life of a deserving family. It's basically the Irish version of wildly popular and hyper emotional US series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Return of the Wild tells the story of solicitor-by-day Killian McLaughlin and his big ambitions to build a zoo in Donegal. Think more 2011 comedy We Bought A Zoo than Joe Exotic.
Alex Fegan, who directed Older than Ireland, returns with new documentary Sins of Ireland in which 30 Irish priests discuss the sins that have emotionally resonated with them in the confession box. The death of Marian Finucane caused shock waves throughout Ireland and RTÉ will reflect on the broadcaster's career in Marian. The Case I Can’t Forget features retired and serving gardaí telling the stories of the cases that had a profound impact on them.
The documentary Love and Loss in a Pandemic features seven people who who lost a loved one during the Covid-19 emergency, and sounds utterly heart-breaking.
In terms of drama, Dead Still, written by Irish man John Morton, is about a Victorian memorial photographer who investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects in 1880s Ireland. Luther star Michael Smiley and Game of Thrones Kerr Logan star alongside Eileen O’Higgins and Aidan O’Hare. The off-beat series has already aired in North America where is has been warmly received.
Amy Huberman's Finding Joy is back, but if you prefer your drama dark and brooding Smother may be more your thing. The family thriller is about mysterious family secrets, set in a small town on the wild and rugged coast of Clare.