Wrecking the Rising

The Sweet and Lowdown
Michelle Clancy
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Wrecking the Rising (Éirí Amach Amú) is a new three-part comedy drama written by Waterford man James Phelan for TG4.

Writer James Phelan, pictured during the Waterford Film

Writer James Phelan, pictured during the Waterford Film

It stars Peter Coonan (Fran from ‘Love/Hate’), Owen McDonnell and recent IFTA nominee Sean T O Meallaigh, playing three modern day re-enactors who are gearing up for a full dress rehearsal of the Rising when a mysterious box transports them back in time to 1916, just before the Easter Rising. And they proceed to ruin the Insurrection before it even begins.

James, from Ballymacarbry in West Waterford, said the show was a ‘bit of craic’ after ‘all the solemn iterations of the Rising’.

“It dares to deviate away from fact in favour of alternate outcomes that are oddly prescient. Like a world without FF & FG. A notion that might appeal to people right now”

Educated at the Friary and St Augustine’s in Dungarvan, James started his writing career as a film critic and has been earning his living as a scriptwriter for the past 12 years.

“TG4 were the first to back my work, which I was amazed at given my complete lack of Irish. My mother, Bridget Costin, is originally from Ring so all her family are fluent speakers. When she married she only moved 19 miles up the road but she didn’t take the Irish with her in that I would have had no more than school Irish. When I applied to TG4 I thought I would be laughed out of it but they’ve been brilliant to me. I wrote both seasons of ‘Rasai na Gaillimhe’, which has won several awards and had a few sales and I’m currently working on a drama in advanced development with RTE and Blinder films which is scheduled to shoot this summer.”

Wreck the Rising

Wreck the Rising

Wrecking the Rising has been billed as TG4’s flagship project to mark the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 2016. The time-travel series involves real historical events and people but it does come with a twist, James says.

“Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly, Michael Collins and others are brought to life but it’s the impact of these time travelers that causes the chaos. (Spoiler alert). No sooner have they arrived in the past than they commit a monumental blunder that changes everything.
They manage to kill Pearse before the Rising even begins but because they’re re-enacters and have a Pearse lookalike, they decide to wing it, to try to keep history on course. But they end up altering history at every turn. And then Peter Coonan’s character has a family lineage associated with the Rising but he discovers it’s not what he thought it was. They end up are battling not only for their own futures but the entire country’s future too. And they get quite a dose of reality when they end up spending a week in the GPO.

“I wanted to breathe some life back into historical events that are increasingly set in stone. I don’t see the point of simply reiterating the events of Easter week. The point of any drama is to reinvigorate and reengage. Through a fantastical premise, we can strip the veneer off of the Rising and evoke an exciting seismic week where suddenly everything is up for grabs again”.

Wrecking the Rising is produced for TG4 by Tile Films, one of Ireland’s leading television production companies. Tile Films’ past productions include “Saving the Titanic”, a HD feature drama-documentary that won the Best Feature-length Drama at the Celtic Media Festival 2013 and the Gold World Medal Award at the New York Festivals 2013, and “A Terrible Beauty”, a 90min feature drama-documentary and winner of a 2015 IFTA Award.

It will be broadcast over three consecutive nights this month, commencing at 9.30pm on Saturday, 23rd.

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