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Drama shot in North Clare to air from Sunday night

NORTH Clare is to feature prominently in one of the year’s most eagerly awaited home-grown drama series, Smother, which will air on RTÉ One next Sunday night.

Shot on location in Lahinch, Liscannor, Spanish Point, Fanore, Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna, the six-part drama is described as a “domestic noir thriller,” and is a co-production with BBC.

It was filmed last year in adherence with pandemic guidelines. The high-end production featured a number of locals as crew members and extras.

Writer Kate O’Riordan, who worked on the hit series Mr Selfridge, created the family thriller which sees her tight-knit family of characters gradually unearth deeply buried secrets and live with their unintended consequences.

The all-star cast is headed up by Dervla Kirwan who plays matriarch Val – a devoted mother who is determined to protect her family and particularly her three daughters Jenny, Anna, and Grace, at any cost.

Jenny (played by Niamh Walsh of Good Omens and Jamestown is a doctor, facing the prospect of becoming a single mum. Grace (Seána Kerslake of Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope and The Hole in the Ground is described as angry but fragile and is struggling with mental health issues. Anna (Gemma-Leah Devereux of Judy and The Tudors is a devoted step-mother to two teenage boys, whose birth mother has recently reappeared on the scene,.

When Val Ahern’s husband Denis played by Stewart Graham (The Cure and Hunger) is found dead at a foot of a cliff close to their home the morning after a family party, Val begins to interrogate the events that unfolded the night before. Val explores Denis’s relationships with his children, step-children, and his 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 deep effect on each member of the family.

The series will be included in the BBC Studios catalogue for international sales. The production was supported by a number of partners including Screen Ireland and WRAP (Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund). The latter is an initiative of the Western Development Commission and Galway Film Centre in association with Clare County Council and local authorities in Donegal, Galway City, Galway County, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, as well as Údarás na Gaeltachta.

The series was produced by Rob Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan from Treasure with Executive Producers Tom Sherry and Michael Parke for BBC Studios.  It airs on RTÉ One at 9.30pm from Sunday, March 7.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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