Wednesday 16 October 2019

Gloves are off as RTE and Virgin Media do battle with two rival crime dramas

Killian Scott and Sarah Green in Dublin Murders
Killian Scott and Sarah Green in Dublin Murders
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

RTE and Virgin Media will go head-to-head this month when they launch two competing crime dramas within 10 days of each other.

The stations have splashed the cash on creating two slick-looking productions that they're hoping will have TV audiences hooked this winter.

Virgin Media One will debut its six-part series Darklands on Monday, October 7 at 9pm while just 10 days later, RTE's crime offering Dublin Murders will air for the first time on Wednesday, October 16 at 9.35pm.

However, it seems that's where the similarities end as while both shows fall into the same category of crime dramas, they will appeal to two completely different audiences.

Darklands is an original idea created by writers Mark O'Connor and Adam Coates that's based around a teenage MMA fighter named Damien Dunne (16).

He risks destroying his future completely by trying to find out what happens to his brother Wes, who vanishes after getting involved in organised crime.

Seen through the eyes of the young MMA fighter who's trying to change his life through sport, the lead character is played by Dane Whyte O'Hara, who never acted before Darklands.

While there are some familiar faces like Damian Gildea, who featured in the movie Nicole and OJ and plays the part of Damien's brother Wes, most of the young cast are total newcomers to the screen.

Writer/director Mark O'Connor said he came up with the show's concept while making Between the Canals in the inner-city with young star Barry Keoghan.

"I just had the idea of making a show through the eyes of a 16-year-old kid to show how they get involved in the world of crime.

"Sometimes, just normal kids are in school and can get dragged into certain situations out of circumstances, or out of family situations, so that was the original idea," he told the Herald.

By contrast, RTE's Dublin Murders is based on an adaptation of Tana French's best-selling crime books.

The series will merge her first two books In the Woods and The Likeness, which have been brought together in adaptations by Sarah Phelps.

The cast features some well-known stars like Killian Scott, alongside his fellow Love/Hate star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Vikings star Moe Dunford.

Scott plays the part of Detective Rob Reilly and he'll star opposite Rosie star Sarah Green as Detective Cassie Maddox. The pair are tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a young girl on the outskirts of Dublin and Scott said that the adaptation will feel "very Irish" to its viewers.

"There's a certain type of gallows humour that the cops in the show have with each other, and it's a little bit cynical but very Irish," he told the BBC.

As for the version of Dublin that is portrayed, we see tightly-knit small communities completely unravel due to a local incident, in this case a murder.

"That element was particularly Dublinesque for me."

Herald

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