Blast from past: RTE celebrates its 50th anniversary
A HOST of television icons will return to our screens as RTE television celebrates 50 years in the business.
TV50 was launched yesterday, beginning a year-long celebration of RTE television's history.
Gay Byrne, Terry Wogan, Mike Murphy, Larry Gogan, Twink, Dara O Briain and Brendan O'Carroll are among those who will feature in 'The Entertainers' -- which airs on January 1 at 9.30pm -- as RTE rolls out a series of programmes to mark its 50 years in the business.
Highlights from the RTE archives will also be aired, including a programme from 1968 entitled 'Rural Portrait -- King of the Road', which goes out on January 2 at 8.30pm.
It centres on a quiet man, Michael Cleary, and his father. The two men worked the roads of south Tipperary for more than 90 years.
The channel was launched in the Gresham Hotel in Dublinon New Year's Eve, 1961, and featured an address to the nation by then-President Eamon de Valera.
"Never before was there in the hands of men an instrument so powerful to influence the thoughts and actions of the multitude," he told his audience, as invited guests were wined and dined in front of the TV cameras in the hotel.
The broadcaster's 50th anniversary celebrations will begin with New Year's Eve Live, presented by Miriam O'Callghan.
RTE director general Noel Curran said Irish television had served as both a "window and mirror to an evolving nation".
"I hope that in that time we have served the viewing public well; that we have reflected their lives in a way that is nuanced and recognisable; that we have stimulated our conversation; that we have informed the populace in a way that has furthered our democratic rights and responsibilities; that we have promoted a sense of national identity," he said.
The 50th anniversary of 'The Late Late Show' will be marked in May, while a special edition of 'The RTE Guide' was on sale from yesterday. This includes a 16-page replica edition featuring highlights from the first issue.
An Post has already commissioned three stamps to commemorate the 50 years of public service television broadcasting.
Anne Doyle, who departed from our screens on Christmas Day, is featured on a special-edition 55c stamp. Gay Byrne and presenter Emma O'Driscoll are on the other two.
Meanwhile, a website, www.rte.ie/tv50, will go live on New Year's Eve and will feature photographs and clips from the national broadcaster's extensive archive.
Another feature of the celebrations is 'TV50 Classics' on the RTE online TV player. This will include footage from old dramas and comedy and talk shows.