Nominees for the 2015 IFTA Gala Television Awards Announced

The IFTA Gala Television Awards Ceremony, is set to be Irish television’s biggest night of the year, acknowledging and rewarding the achievements from the Irish TV industry’s great year of high quality engaging television programming. The Ceremony will take place at the Double Tree Ballroom on Thursday 22nd October 2015. The Irish Academy announced earlier this year that the larger annual IFTA Ceremony has been split into two separate distinct smaller Award ceremonies i.e. a Film & Drama Awards Ceremony and a Television Awards Ceremony in October (in line with all other International Academies and reflecting the growth of the Irish industry).

The Irish Film and Television Academy is delighted to announce the shortlist of nominees in 23 strongly contested TV categories for the IFTA Gala Television Awards from entertainment, comedy, Soap and Performance to factual, current affairs and news across all of the Irish broadcasters RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3, 3e, TG4, Sky, UTV and BBC Northern Ireland. The Nominations have been shortlisted by Members of the Irish Academy along with Irish and international Jury panels of industry experts.

Academy CEO, Aine Moriarty stated that: “The Academy is delighted to now have a dedicated Ceremony to celebrating ‘Television’ production as this industry has grown and developed into a vibrant resource of creative talent and professionals who are consistently delivering high quality programming to audiences both in Ireland and internationally year on year. These IFTA Nominees showcase the very best of Irish television and acknowledge the hard work, creativity and spirit that goes into producing hundreds of hours of television production each year.”

The Entertainment category for 2015 welcomes two music-based series – RTÉ’s The Imelda May Show and ShinAwil’s The Voice of Ireland which are nominated alongside Sky’s adventure series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy with Baz Ashmawy and his mum Nancy, and TV3’s flagship breakfast show Ireland AM.

The new Comedy Award category designed to recognise great Irish comedy, sees two sketch shows Irish Pictorial Weekly and The Savage Eye from Blinder Films for RTÉ alongside two sitcoms – BBC/RTÉ’s Mrs Browns Boys and SKY’s Moone Boy – both of which have been airing to great success in the UK in recent years.

There is also a new Soap & Continuing Drama Award category which will see Red Rock and Fair City in the running for the top prize of Ireland’s Best TV Soap, along with other new categories which include the Award for the stand-out Female Performance in a Soap or Comedy which sees Martina Stanley in her moving performance battling breast cancer as Dolores Molloy in Fair City and also Cathy Belton as the matriarch in TV3’s Red Rock; Sharon Horgan for her comedic performance in Catastrophe shot in the UK and airing on Channel 4; Jane McGrath as rule abiding Garda Officer Sharon Cleere and Deirdre O Kane in the Boyle based Moone Boy series.

Male Performance in a Soap or Comedy sees the lovable Chris O Dowd in the imaginary world of Moone Boy; and the hilariously funny Brendan O Carroll as everyone’s favourite mammy in Mrs. Brown’s Boys; There is also a first nomination for Enda Oates for his powerful performance as Pete Ferguson in Ireland’s longest running soap Fair City; along with a first nomination for the multi-talented Andrew Quirke for playing both titular characters from opposite sides of Dublin in Parallel Pictures’ Damo & Ivor. This category also sees newcomer Sean Mahon nominated for his villainous performance as Garda Brian McGonigle in Red Rock.

Ireland’s Reality programmes have strong contenders keeping it real this year with Animo TV’s self-shot series Connected and Stirling’s Irish language travel series WWOOFail California bringing audiences on exciting organic farming adventures. Also Nominated in Reality are two series that were shot in Limerick, Motive Television’s A Sporting Chance and ShinAwil’s Bressie’s Teenage Kicks where both endeavour to turn young teenagers’ lives around – one using sport to engage and connect and the other using music.

Among the very competitive categories is Documentary Series where Motive TV’s Darndale – The Edge of Town gives insight into a tough Dublin neighbourhood; and Tyrone’s The High Hopes Choir follows the emotional and uplifting journey of Ireland’s first homeless choir; the grandeur and sophistication of one of Dublin’s longest established hotels The Shelbourne also features along with TG4’s Bliain in Inis Mór from Power Pictures filming a year of island life on the smallest of the Aran Islands. The Documentary Single category nominees include Man On Bridge telling the story of one of Dublin’s most iconic street photographers; along with It Came From Connemara!! - Filmmaker Brian Reddin examines Roger Corman's involvement in the Irish film industry; Dolores Keane – A Storm in the Heart chronicles the life one of Ireland’s most recognisable female vocalists; and bringing us back to World War II Close To Evil telling the story of Tomi Reichental a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp.

The News category sees the best of News coverage in the running for and Award including BBC Newsline: The Death of Ian Paisley; RTE Six One News: Graham Dwyer; Nuacht TG4; TV3 5.30 News: The Resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan along with UTV Ireland Live are in contention.

Current Affairs nominees include TV3’s A Secret Buried: The Mother and Baby Scandal; documentary revealing the story behind the shocking discovery of a mass grave in Tuam; Above the Law, an investigation into paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland along with Inside Bungalow 3 – RTE Investigation Unit and Panorama: Britain’s Secret Terror Deal.

In the Factual category, Mind The Gap Films lifestyle series Lords and Ladles, which was recently acquired by Fremantle Media, is nominated alongside RTÉ’s Nationwide, Big Mountain Productions travel series Wild Ireland and Moondance Productions The Zoo, which centres on the staff and animals at Dublin Zoo. Specialist Factual nominees include Brendan Behan – The Roaring Boy; The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne; Cumann na mBan; Aille an Uafais / A Terrible Beauty and A Parting Gift.

Nominated in the Animation category this year is Brown Bag Films adventure series Bing, which celebrates the noisy, joyful, messy reality of life when you're a pre-schooler. Also nominated is Sixteen South’s Lily’s Driftwood Bay, which centres on five-year-old Lily and her imagination about what might be happening across the way on Driftwood Bay as well as Geronimo’s Nelly and Nora, an animation which follows two sisters determined to have fun, no matter what the weather. Rounding out the list this year is Cartoon Saloon’s Puffin Rock which is narrated by Chris O’Dowd and follows the adventures of a family of puffins who live on a beautiful Irish island.

In the Children’s category, GMarsh TV Productions series Our Farm is nominated alongside Meangadh Fibin’s pre-school puppet series Saol faoi Shráid, Crossing The Line’s wildlife show Shutterbugs and RTÉ’s teen-news show Two Tube.

Ireland’s love of sports is well reflected in this year’s Sport nominees which include RTE’s Second Captains Live; along with The Notorious – about Conor McGregor as Ireland’s most successful mixed martial artist; Arkle – The Legend Lives On which marked the 50th anniversary of the iconic gold cup clash between Arkle and mill house in 1964 and TG4’s GAA USA which chronicles the extraordinary and largely unknown history of Gaelic games in the United States.

Another new category for Television this year is Live Event where the nominees include RTÉ’s Referendum – Live Results; TV3’s Vincent Browne in the George, BBC’s St Patricks Day Concert and TG4’s Fleadh TV.

Irish Language programming is well represented, dramas and documentaries nominated - Áille an Uafáis/A Terrible Beauty, An Bronntanas, Ar Intinn Eile, Corp is Anam, and Katie.

Documentaries chronicling stars past and present are a theme in the Director Television category. Maurice Sweeney is nominated for Below The Radar TV’s poignant documentary Brendan Behan: A Roaring Boy, Liam McGrath for Scratch Films powerful Dolores Keane: A Storm in the Heart, Patrick Timmons Ward for Motive Television’s Conor McGregor documentary series The Notorious and Darragh Byrne for RTÉ’s O Sé: A Legacy which looks at the late GAA sports man and personality Paidí O Sé.

The Nominees of the Writing for Soaps and Comedy shows are Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), Barry Murphy for his satirical Irish Pictorial Weekly, Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy for Moone Boy, and Peter McKenna for Red Rock; In Directing for Soap or Comedy - Lisa Mulcahy receives a nomination for her work directing Red Rock, Gary Agnew is nominated for Fair City; Chris O’Dowd for Moone Boy, Damien O’Donnell for The Savage Eye.

For Camera Television, Eleanor Bowman (OCD & Me), Michael O’Donovan (The Long Walk), Ciaran Tanham (Red Rock), Colm Whelan (Aille an Ufais/A Terrible Beauty); Editing Television - Zaini Darragh (Des Bishop Breaking China), Mick Mahon (After Braveheart), Mick Mahon (Rough Rider), Brenda Morrissey (OCD and Me); Sound Television - After Braveheart, Ceolchuairt, Dolphins Ireland’s Ocean, and My Father’s War.

Next week the Academy will officially announce the Ceremony Host and the Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Recipient along with details of the IFTA Gala People’s Choice Award; followed by Irish and international guests and friends of the Academy travelling to Dublin for the night of Celebrations.

View full list of Nominees 2015