Hall's Pictorial Weekly

Hall's Pictorial Weekly was an Irish satirical television series broadcast on Raidió Teilifís Éireann from 1971 to 1980. Regarded as RTÉ's flagship comedy show, it featured satirical sketches on current news stories, politics and popular culture, as well as parody songs, comedy sketches, re-edited videos, cartoons and spoof television formats. The show was written, presented and edited by Frank Hall and featured a cast including Frank Kelly and Eamon Morrissey.

Hall's Pictorial Weekly
Cover of DVD The Very Best of Hall's Pictorial Weekly, Vol.1! released in 2004
Also known asHall's Pictorial Weekly
Written byFrank Hall
Presented byFrank Hall
StarringFrank Kelly
Eamon Morrissey
Paul Murphy
Pat Daly
Michael Twomey
Frank Duggan
Country of originIreland
Original language(s)English
No. of series9
Production location(s)Studio 2, RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30–40 minutes
Production company(s)Raidió Teilifís Éireann
Original networkRTÉ, RTÉ One
Original release29 September 1971 (1971-09-29) 
19 March 1980 (1980-03-20)
Related showsBallymagash



Hall's Pictorial Weekly had its origins in the daily regional news magazine Newsbeat, which ran between 1964 and 1971. The programme was noted for concentrating on colourful characters and off-beat reportage, as well as occasional comedy sketches. According to Hall, it occurred to him one day that he would be much more the master of the situation if he simply sat at home and wrote sketches, instead of looking for stories around the country.


The first episode of Hall's Pictorial Weekly aired on 29 September 1971. Set in the offices of a mythical provincial newspaper in the fictional town of Ballymagash, it initially continued to cover offbeat regional news in the manner of Newsbeat, but gradually gave over more time towards comedy sketches and parodies.

In testament to the show's popularity, the term "Ballymagash-style politics" quickly became common parlance as a shorthand way of describing the type of "parish-pump" politics which became one of its key satirical targets.[1]

Political satire

Hall's Pictorial Weekly was at its strongest during the 1973–1977 term of the Fine Gael-Labour Party coalition government. So sharp and constant was its satirical send up of the government ministers of the time, that it is generally accepted that the programme played an important part in bringing the coalition into disrepute and perhaps even contributed to bringing it down.[2] Ireland at the time had a very volatile economic situation and the show spared no political expense in portraying the then Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, as the "Minister for Hardship," while the Minister for Finance, Richie Ryan, was portrayed as "Richie Ruin".

The show also portrayed the former Taoiseach Jack Lynch (played by Frank Kelly) as a rather benign pipe-smoking figure. The political party he led, Fianna Fáil, was also lampooned as being called "Feel and Fall". Charles Haughey was parodied as "Charlie Hawkeye".


In April 1980, RTÉ decided not to go ahead with the planned tenth series of Hall's Pictorial Weekly due for transmission in the following May and June. Effectively the show was axed, although no clear statement about the programme's demise was made by the broadcaster.[3]

Commercial release

In 2004, a DVD featuring highlights from the series was released under the title, The Very Best of Hall's Pictorial Weekly (Vol 1).[1] A second volume The Very Best of Hall's Pictorial Weekly (Vol 2) was released a few years later.

Broadcast dates


SeriesYearDatesNo. episodesDayTime
Series 11971–7229 September – 31 May24 episodesWednesday7:30pm–8:10pm
Series 21972–7330 September – 26 May25 episodesSaturday8:00pm–8:30pm
Series 31973–7427 September – 23 May30 episodesThursday8:00pm–8:30pm
Series 41974–7525 September – 7 May27 episodesWednesday8:30pm–9:00pm
Series 51975–7625 September – 3 June33 episodesThursday9:00pm–9:30pm
Series 61976–776 October – 25 MayWednesday9:00pm–9:30pm
Series 71977–7821 September – MayWednesday8:30pm–9:00pm
Series 81978–79– 11 September JulyWednesday8:30pm–9:00pm
Series 91979–8031 October – 19 MarchWednesday8:30pm–9:00pm

See also


  1. The Irish Times, "How Ballymagash became part of folk culture", 4 December 2004
  2. The Irish Times, "RTE makes a show of itself for its 21st", 31 December 1982
  3. The Irish Times, "RTE scraps Ballymagash", 9 April 1980
  • RTÉ Archives – includes a link to a clip from Hall's Pictorial Weekly, in SMIL format
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