Sunday 18 March 2018

Misfits writer praises TG4 for taking on Ireland's first post-watershed teen drama with Eipic

Rebels: Cian Ó Baoill, who plays Oisín, and Fionn Foley as Sully in the forthcoming TG4 series, Eipic
Rebels: Cian Ó Baoill, who plays Oisín, and Fionn Foley as Sully in the forthcoming TG4 series, Eipic
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A writer of the cult E4 drama Misfits has praised TG4 for taking on the first post watershed teen drama on an Irish channel.

The new Irish drama, following a group of teens as they take over their local post office and kick off a music rebellion, is putting a fresh twist on the 1916 Rising.

Eipic, scripted by Mike O’Leary, follows the fortunes of five rural teens who take over their post office in 2016 to start a musical revolution.

Writer Mike O'Leary, one of the writers of the cult E4 drama Misfits, said he was initially daunted when approached about writing a drama through Irish but was determined to make it authentic, real and wild.

Eipic Director Louise Ní Fhiannachta on the set during filming
Eipic Director Louise Ní Fhiannachta on the set during filming

“I was the worst man for the job. I’ve no Irish but the translations were amazing. It lost nothing and hearing the actors saying it in Irish was such a buzz,” he said.

He praised TG4 for taking a chance on a show which morphed from the traditional teen teatime slot to the post watershed time of 10pm.

“We had originally been planning a show for the 5pm to 6pm slot but we wanted to make it as authentic as possible and we just went with it, how teenagers really speak, plenty of swear words, what you would hear as the school gates.

“We went to TG4 with it and they were up for the changes so it became a post watershed drama. A British channel would have been more rigid,” he added.

Set against the backdrop of the 1916 centenary celebrations and featuring a mysterious online friend who looks remarkably like Michael Collins, the six part drama is an irreverent and anarchic take on what it means to be a teen in 2016 Ireland.

The series is the first post watershed teen drama to be broadcast on Irish television and it’s doing it all as Gaelige.

Producer Ciara Nic Chormaic explained how they hadn’t set out to make a show incorporating the Rising but it came about organically as the characters grew.

“We were looking at what it means to be a hero in 2016 and the heroes journey and what inspired that and then we started looking at the chatroom character in the guise of Michael Collins.

“Obviously we’re looking at it in an irreverent way and just trying and bring something new to the table and commemorations in a creative way,” she said.

The show follows a band of teenage oddballs who inspired by an anonymous online presence break into the local abandoned post office. There they set up their base of operations for an online music video competition, all in the hopes of escaping the begrudgery of their rural hometown.

The writer credits the popularity of Nordic drama in helping remove stereotypes when it comes to watching subtitled programmes.

“Language is no longer a barrier when it comes to television. The storyline and characters are the universal language and as audiences we are much more aware of that,” he said.

EIPIC will air on TG4 from tomorrow at 10pm for six weeks.

'Eipic' tale: a very different sort of Rising 

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