THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS
TV3’s ‘Red Rock’ first aired in January 2015 and, after a fairly low-key start, began gathering pace to what is now a bona fide hit, sold to BBC One and Amazon Prime. As season three hits our screens, at a later time and in an hour-long slot, Emily Houric
Given the very low hitrate of new TV dramas, the success story that is TV3’s feels like a boon, not just for Irish drama, but for the industry in general, and those who work in it. Since launching in January 2015, has grown from an initially low-key reaction, to become TV3’s most popular show. It was sold to Amazon Prime in the US, where 81pc of viewers gave it five stars, and in July, it debuted on BBC One to an
Rock Red Rock Red
audience of over a million viewers, and a heap of positive reviews.
Set in a fictional seaside town on the outskirts of Dublin, the action revolves around the antics of two feuding local families, the Kielys and the Hennessys, and the local garda station, through which, in true soap style, all of human life passes, from the mundane to the traumatic.
The action is fast-paced and the dialogue smart, but the real draw is the scope that is displayed by the characters to be multi-faceted, conflicted, real.
This is a soap opera with serious drama ambitions, and even a touch of Scandi-noir sensibility, courtesy of the overcast skies and intensity of the plotlines. Comparisons with are inevitable, but actually,
doesn’t need them. Season three has moved to a later time slot — post-watershed, meaning lots of frenzied speculation before the first show aired last week as to whether this will mean a raunchier, sexier show — and, instead of two half-hour episodes a week, there is one prime-time, hourlong slot. Whatever about the potential for more sex and violence, an hour-long
Love/Hate Red Rock
format allows time and space for what is far more interesting — the psychological development of key characters. In the end, this is what will win, and keep viewers, and not any amount of gore or raunch. It is the changing motivations, intricate interactions and shaded personal responses playing out on-screen that compel us, far more than the flashing lights or neat pieces of police procedure.
And so, as is back on our screens, we talk to three young actors, each of whom plays a key part, about life, the show and the growth of their characters.