50 Years Of RTE (#RTETV50)


RTE TV celebrates it’s 50th birthday this year and is using the occasion to feature a selection of archive content online and in the regular TV schedule. The highlight so far round these parts was the David Heffernan documentary on Phil Lynott. Dave is familiar to readers of this site as he was the face of rock music on RTE childrens show ‘Anything Goes‘. I don’t remember an awful lot about the show as the only reason I watched was to catch a glimpse of the young Irish bands that Dave would introduce performing in studio. I believe RTE is sitting on a veritable goldmine not in monetary terms but in having an archive of performances that capture a lost generation of irish rock music. I would love to see RTE get Dave Heffernan do a documentary on those musical performances. Maybe Dave could share a few memories of the show and what they got up to, maybe talk to some of the band members and reminisce about the show. Lets be clear I’m not talking about a show that digs out early U2 appearances, I’m interested in the unsung bands who burned bright and left indelible impressions on young minds up and down the country and have since fallen off the radar. I personally would gladly watch a show made up entirely of the musical performances on the show, it could be as simple as an on screen informational text a la ‘Reeling In The Years’ but for gods sake dont dare give us another show like ‘Reverb’ with infuriatingly short musical clips interspersed with inane commentary from folk who havent a clue what they are talking about. This is the RTE equivalent of ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ we’re talking about. There were other shows that are also of interest for their musical content. I cant remember the chronology but ‘TV Ga Ga’, ‘Visual Eyes‘, ‘Megamix‘ and ‘Borderline‘ spring to mind. The Late Late Show also featured occasional performance from up and coming irish rock acts. How about it RTE, a retro music series for us fortysomethings?


6 Responses to “50 Years Of RTE (#RTETV50)”

  1. Ah, Aengus and his yellow and red shoes, great stuff

    You got the chronology spot on there – I rem great performances by Light A Big Fire on Anything Goes, plus Big Self and The Blades in 83 and a video by The Village from Waterford, all gone to the big taped over vhs tape in the sky ….cos video tapes were EXPENsive then by, dig em out, people, dig em out RTE where do I sign? c

  2. john dundon Says:

    Anything Goes from about 1215 am to just before 1 pm on a Sat was essential viewing, it was the only bit of rock music in the early 80’s as I recall, I won the LOOKALIKES album on a write in, yes write in competition and when it didn’t come within a week or so I think I phoned up and then finally got two, both of which of course I still have! Also won Phil Lynotts Solo In Soho, there still a few bits of video on the web thanks to Reekus and also early U2 but it would be great to see the music content of the show remembered in a proper hour long special for RTE’s 50th and throw in a bit of Mary make-and-do as well which ran just before the music section I think?

  3. I think there’s also Fountainhead, Those Nervous Animals, Cry Before Dawn, Les Enfants – everyone will have their own recollections. Paul Cleary with or without The Blades seemed to be on every six weeks or so. Dave Heffernan came across like a big brother to him, absolutely desperate to see him do well. I think the video(s) that’s online for Bride Wore White and one of the others that came before Downmarket was made with Heffernan’s input. Same goes for CIA by LABF if memory serves. Obviously for our generation it would be great to see some of that get a re-run. But Dave Heffernan himself deserves the recognition also; it always impressed as being a labour of love to get these bands a bit of airplay, regardless of whether he liked them or not.
    Trying to second guess who he didn’t rate would be to miss the point. There’s a lazy perception that The other Dave was our John Peel; which I don’t have any objection to as such – it’s just that there is little or no credit accorded to DH. Apparently there was no music video on RTE before Vincent Hanley.
    Anyway there was also that ‘6-5 Live’ from some former church in the city centre (Dublin). The other thing that has to get shown are the fantastic subliminal arguments between Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger as to who was Philo’s greatest pal. Heffernan -The Greatest Living Irishman? Well if The Blades were your raison detter in the early 80s you won’t find much better.

  4. We hear what you’re saying, folks, and are working towards making as much as possible of our TV archives available online. It’s a longterm project with a lot of research, restoration and rights clearances involved but we’re committed to revealing as much as we can over the coming years of the treasures you can see on the RTÉ Player TV50 Classics. Thanks for watching and sharing them.

  5. Stephen snow Says:

    Do you guys have a demo of a band called Moses kicks the shrine in your archives? I think it would have been sent in around 93 / 94. Just wondering if you had a copy of it been played by Dave, if so would it be possible to get a copy. Love the site it brings back only good memories.
    Cheers thanks,

  6. I’m in the process of digitising the Moses Kicks the Shrine tape

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