RTÉ-commissioned TV series Smother filming in County Clare
- Dathaí Keane is shooting a new family thriller starring Dervla Kirwan and Seána Kerslake in the lead roles
Ireland’s pubcaster RTÉ has commissioned a brand-new TV series, which began principal photography in County Clare on 10 February. The production, entitled Smother, has been penned by writer Kate O’Riordan (the TV series The Bay and Mr Selfridge) and is being directed by Dathaí Keane. Keane is best known for his TV series An Klondike (2015-2017) and his debut feature, Finky [+see also:
interview: Dathai Keane
film profile] (2019), which won the Best Cinematography Award at the Galway Film Fleadh and was part of Black Nights’ First Feature Competition last year.
Smother is a family thriller about deeply buried secrets and their unintended consequences, set in a small town on the wild and rugged coast of County Clare. The story centres on matriarch Val Ahern (played by Dervla Kirwan), a devoted mother who is determined to protect her family and her three daughters, Jenny, Anna and Grace, at any cost. Jenny (Niamh Walsh) is a heavily pregnant, single doctor, unsure of the choices she has made. Grace (Seána Kerslake) is an angry but fragile young woman struggling with mental health issues. Anna (Gemma-Leah Devereux) is a devoted step-mother to two teenage boys whose birth mother has recently reappeared on the scene.
When Val Ahern’s husband, Denis (Stuart Graham), is found dead at the foot of a cliff close to their home the morning after a family party, Val begins to look into the events that unfolded the night before. She explores Denis’s relationships with his children, step-children and siblings in order to find out who might have been responsible for his brutal, shocking death. The deeper Val delves into her family’s secrets, the more she realises how her late husband’s controlling, manipulative behaviour had a profound effect on each member of the family.
Other important cast members include actors Thomas Levin, Hilary Rose and Justine Mitchell.
Filming will wrap on 1 May, and the shooting locations include Lahinch, Liscannor, Spanish Point, Fanore, Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna.
Smother was developed by BBC Studios Drama North and Scotland in partnership with Dublin-based firm Treasure Entertainment. It is being staged by Rob Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan for Treasure Entertainment, with executive producers Tom Sherry and Michael Parke for BBC Studios, and writer Kate O’Riordan. The executive producers for RTÉ are Shane Murphy and David Crean. Moreover, the production has received support from Screen Ireland, the country’s audiovisual agency, and WRAP (the Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund).
The series will be broadcast on RTÉ One. BBC Studios is in charge of its international distribution, but an official release date is yet to be disclosed.
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