Cork takes centre stage in new RTE TV drama

New Sunday night drama The South-Westerlies, set in West Cork, begins next weekend
Cork takes centre stage in new RTE TV drama

FAMILY STRIFE: Steve Wall as Baz, Sam Barret as Conor, and Orla Brady as Kate in The South-Westerlies, which begins on RTE1 on September 6

WHEN a small coastal town in West Cork is earmarked for a Norwegian-owned wind farm, it’s not just the spectacular scenery that’s under pressure....

That is the remit for RTÉ’s new blockbuster autumn drama, The South-Westerlies, which begins its six-part run on RTÉ1 at 9.30pm on Sunday, September 6.

Its cast is headed by Dublin-born IFTA-nominated actress Orla Brady, along with Eileen Walsh, Steve Wall, Patrick Bergin and Sorcha Cusack.

Brady plays Kate Ryan, who is working as an Environmental Compliance consultant for the Norwegian energy giant Noreg Oil, and on the verge of a lucrative promotion and transfer to HQ in Oslo.

But there’s a caveat; a final assignment for NorskVentus — Noreg Oil’s new wind-power subsidiary.

For single working mother Kate, tasked with going undercover to bring the wind farm project home, her eco-battle is compounded by the return of a crinkly-eyed surfer (Wall) with a resemblance to her teenage son Conor (Sam Barrett).

Despite getting planning permission for their wind farm, offshore from the West Cork town of Carrigeen, ongoing local protests are creating a public relations nightmare. Kate must go undercover to Carrigeen, quash objections before the six-week appeals deadline and smooth the path for imminent turbine installation, or her promotion is off the table.

She’s furious, and her son Conor’s not pleased either.

Meanwhile, Kate’s old friend Breege (Walsh) — hurt that Kate never kept in touch — has guessed her secret.

As the pressure piles on from HQ in Oslo, Kate finally discovers a pro-wind farm ally in the shape of Callum Kelleher (Kevin J Ryan), a local radio-journalist, after staying at his parent’s B&B.

The cast also includes a role for Patrick Bergin, as local councillor ‘Big Mike’ Kellegher. There will be high hopes at RTÉ that the drama matches the success of Normal People in the spring.

It was filmed pre-lockdown, last autumn, in Wicklow town, Cork and Oslo in Norway.

The new drama was created by Catherine Maher and written by Maher, Hugh Travers, Hilary Reynolds and Michelle Duffy.

Ailish McElmeel, co-founder of the series producers, Deadpan Pictures, said: “The South Westerlies is very much a series for our climate-changing-times, an ensemble piece set in a picturesque seaside town divided.

“It’s warm and funny, while also shot through with darker shenanigans.”

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