RTÉ Television Centre
The RTÉ Television Centre is a television studio complex which is owned by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) and has been home to Ireland's national public service broadcaster since 1961. It is situated at Donnybrook, Dublin 4. The building houses the main production studios for RTÉ Television, the control rooms for all RTÉ's TV channels, and RTÉ's main newsroom.
|RTÉ Television Centre|
The Television Centre building on the RTÉ campus.
|Address||Donnybrook, Dublin 4|
|Current tenants||RTÉ Television|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Scott Tallon Walker|
|Main contractor||Messrs. E. Stone & Sons Ltd.|
|Awards and prizes||Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Gold Medal|
When plans for an Irish national television station were developed in the late 1950s attention quickly turned to a suitable location for the new television studios and adjoining offices. By September 1959 a 25-acre area of land on the Stillorgan road in Donnybrook became the favoured site for the new television production centre.
On 3 October 1960 the new Radio Éireann Authority signed a £500,000 contract for the construction of the television centre and offices at the proposed location. A few hours after this the contractors began to move in. The contract was awarded to Messrs. E. Stone & Sons Ltd. from Thorncastle street in Dublin, one of four firms invited to tender. The building when completed in 1962 contained the first purpose-built television studios in Ireland, as existing studios in Belfast had been set up in converted buildings.
At the beginning of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland a bomb damaged the front of the building early on the morning of 5 August 1969. The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) claimed responsibility, this being the first bomb that they had ever planted in the Republic of Ireland. The bombing took place during the protest campaign by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association but before the 1969 riots.
The Television Centre, designed by the Scott-Tallon-Walker firm of architects in Dublin, is 30 feet high with the tops of the main studios rising a further 15 feet above the roof line. In all there are eight television studios in the building, four main production studios; 1,2,4,and 5, a news studio; 3, and three presentation studios; 6,7, and 8, as well as a small studio for radio news bulletins.
There were only three studios in the original building completed in 1962, however, since then a number of new studios and sound stages have been added to the existing complex.
From the early 1970s all the studios were gradually converted to colour operation starting with Studio 3, the news studio, and finishing with Studio 1 in 1976. Since January 2019 all of the studios have been upgraded to High Definition standard.
In the late 1970s RTÉ's schedule was increasing and expanding, especially with the launch of Ireland's second channel RTÉ 2 in November 1978. There was also a growing need for a new larger television studio, as Studio 1 was seen as being too small for many productions.
Studios 4 and 5 were constructed towards the end of the 1970s. Studio 4 measures 6,525 sq ft (606.2 m2), making it the largest purpose-built television studio in Ireland. From the early 1980s onwards it would be home to the majority of RTÉ's large audience based shows.
In 1995 Studio 4 was redeveloped to better cater for audiences, and a new permanent seating rostra was built into it that can accommodate audiences of up to 250. Today Studio 4 is one of the busiest studios in the Television Centre, accommodating The Late Late Show, The Ray D'Arcy Show and Prime Time all in one week.
As well as the studios the building also houses the control rooms for the various channels, MCR (Master Control Room), technical areas for video playout, edit suites, graphics area, scene dock, dressing rooms, green rooms, makeup area, wardrobe, a radio news studio, RTÉ's main newsroom and the RTE Canteen.
In an adjoining building there are also two sound stages which are used for dramas, soaps etc. such as RTÉ's flagship soap Fair City, and the award winning drama Love/Hate. The sound stages are named A and B and both measure 5,865 sq ft (544.9 m2).
4,180 sq ft (388 m2)
Completed in 1962, Studio 1 was originally the largest studio in the television centre and was originally designed for variety shows, dramas and musicals. The studio can comfortably accommodate an audience of 120. It is currently home to many of RTÉ's game shows, including Winning Streak and Know The Score.
Former programmes recorded or transmitted included:
- Kenny Live
- The Late Late Show
- Eurofashion '68
- Tolka Row
- The Dress Dance
- An Bullaí
- An Triall
- How Long is Kissing Time?
- The True Story of Red Riding Hood
- The Last Troubadour
- Going into Exile
- The Loves of Cass McGuire
- Lady Windemere's Fan
- Killraggart 17
- National Song Contest
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
- Aimen High
- The Lads
- Strings in the Air
- Sing a Song
- Where in the World?
- Black Box
- The Gold Star Award
- Legion of the Rearguard
- Sing a Christmas Song
- The Lyrics Board
- To Tell the Truth
- Conversations on a Homecoming
- Facets Irish
- The Plough and the Stars
- The Ante Room
- Make Mine Music
- Star Time
- Reach for the Stars
- Your Christmas Phil
- Teems of Times
- Live Aid
- Sons and Mothers
1,980 sq ft (184 m2)
Studio 2, the second of the original studios, was designed for interviews, panel games and current affairs programmes.
Programmes recorded or transmitted included:
728 sq ft (67.6 m2)
The original studio was extended and equipped with unmanned robotic cameras in 2009. During December 2018 and January 2019 the studio was refurbished and upgraded to High Definition working to coincide with a relaunch of RTE News presentation on Monday 28 January 2019. The refurbishment of the studio and news presentation was part of a €1.7 million revamp.
6,525 sq ft (606.2 m2)
The largest studio in the television centre, it can accommodate audiences of up to 250. This studio is home to programmes such as The Late Late Show, The Ray D'Arcy Show, The Tommy Tiernan Show, The Imelda May Show, Claire Byrne Live and Prime Time.
Studio 4 was completed in 1982 but did not enter full operation until 1986 when the popular weekday afternoon talk/entertainment show "Live at 3" was produced from the studio.
Studio 4 was completely overhauled and refurbished in the summer of 1995 which saw it gain a permanent audience rostra installed which could accommodate audiences of up to 250 if required. The long running Late Late Show and other key audience based entertainment shows moved into Studio 4 from Autumn 1995.
2,415 sq ft (224.4 m2)
Built in the late 1970s, Studio 5 was the first studio in the television centre to be upgraded to High Definition. As home to RTÉ Sport, programmes broadcast from the studio include The Sunday Game, Soccer Republic, Against the Head, as well as RTÉ's coverage of the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and Six Nations Championship.
540 sq ft (50 m2)
400 sq ft (37 m2)
400 sq ft (37 m2)
5,865 sq ft (544.9 m2)
5,865 sq ft (544.9 m2)
Green Screen Stage
430 sq ft (40 m2)
In 2009 RTÉ announced its long-term plans for the redevelopment of the entire Donnybrook site including the Television Centre and the Radio Centre. The project envisages the gradual replacement over a 10- to 15-year period of most of the current 1960 and 1970s buildings on the Donnybrook site with a purpose-built modern building complex designed for the digital and high-definition age.
- "Work starts on £500,000 TV studios", The Irish Times, 4 October 1960
- Bomb Damages RTÉ TV Studios. RTÉ Archives.
- "Troops vetoed in Irish rioting". Toledo Blade, 5 August 1969.
- "Dublin blast". The Lewiston Daily Sun, 29 December 1969
- "Specs". studios.rte.ie.
- McDonagh, Darragh. "RTÉ to spend €1.7m on a makeover of its news studio". The Irish Times.
- January 2019, Editor on 28th (28 January 2019). "NEWS: RTÉ Relaunches Television News Service". The TV Room.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- "RTÉ moves to full HD". SVG Europe. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Project 2025". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 30 December 2013.