The strange success of 'Wimbledon as Gaeilge'

Although the Sunday Independent launched a stinging editorial on the EU’s recognition of the Irish language yesterday, their correspondent Jerome Reilly reports on an unexpected hit scored by TG4 over its coverage of Wimbledon this season ‘as Gaeilge’.

The success it seems comes from addressing the sporting needs of an Irish audience first:

Figures show they have abandoned the BBC in favour of TG4 which took a gamble in securing the rights for Wimbledon for the next three years. Ratings figures out next week are expected to show that the All-Irish coverage has attracted a legion of new viewers. Last week while the BBC brought viewers every shot of Tim Henman’s early exit from the championship, viewers of TG4 enjoyed a great match from another court, featuring Gilles Muller and French Open Champion Rafael Nadal – with Muller knocking the fourth seed out.

Next week they have the Irish rights to coverage of the Tour de France!

  • Keith M

    I tuned into TnaG’s coverage as well. The commentary is totally unobtrusive and they don’t have a faxation on British players. Well done to TnaG.

  • George

    It’s TG4 Keithm and has been for quite a while.

    faxation? Has listening to all this Irish started affecting your English?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    I was kinda hoping that they would try to translate the players’ names into Irish.

    Tadhg Ó Cearcfear?

    :o)

  • Bored

    On this point – weren’t we supposed to get TG4, TV3,and all of the RTE radio stations as part of the Agreement?

    NTL still only carry RTE 1 and 2. I wish they’d hurry up and get it sorted out. It kills me having to drive about in the car relying on either Shittybeat, Tool FM or Radio UDA for news purposes. Anyone know what’s happening/in the pipeline on this front ?

  • barney

    Well done TG4, inspiring a whole new generation to take up tennis.

    Bored,
    Try picking up Radio 1 on LW252, the reception should be pretty good. Don’t get too used to it though, they’re planning to split the signal on Sundays so, while the rest of the nation listens to the match, the LW252 audience are treated to some art re-runs! How thoughtful of RTE, that’s exactly what ex-pats in Britain have been crying out for. More art re-runs, sure who cares about the Ulster Final?

  • iluvni

    TG4: the mission statement

    To provide a high quality programming schedule in Irish and other languages.
    To serve the Irish language audience across all age groups and language ability by providing new and innovative programmes, primarily from the independent sector, to promote creativity and to celebrate Irish storytelling, sport, music, drama and culture.

    TG4: the reality of last Saturday’s schedule
    7 hours Wimbledon from the All-England club, Aussie rules, the OC, Spurs v Man Utd re-run from 2001, EuroNews and a naff movie.

    15 minutes of News in Irish and 2 token documentaries, one of which was about Dublin ladies winning an All-ireland (repeat).

    How’s that promotion of creativity and celebrating Irish culture blahblahblah.
    The station would die a quick death if it concentrated solely on what it was set up to do.

  • Ringo

    The station would die a quick death if it concentrated solely on what it was set up to do.

    and your point is what exactly? That they are shamelessly refusing to become the stuffy, anachronistic dodo that the likes of you wish had the good grace to just roll over and die?

    Its a disgrace, isn’t it, seeing taxpayers money (I suspect not yours, mind you) being wasted on providing programs in Irish that are attracting a mainstream audience blahblahblah.

  • barney

    iluvni,

    Did you happen to tape the Ladies All-Ireland programme?

  • maca

    Great news for TG4 … but Máire Ní Searapóbha (grma Gerry) is still the only reason i’d watch tennis.

  • daithi

    WTF is the problem with the SI? Does it represent the self loathing that Fanon wrote about.

  • barney

    daithi,

    have you only just discovered Sir Tony’s rag? Sure the paper’s been that way since the Dublin lock-out. If nothing else it’s continued existence proves what a tolerant lot we Irish are.

  • maca

    The article in the Sunday Indo, is it the Brendan OConnor one?

  • Mick

    The editorial Maca. I couldn’t find it on the net.

  • Keith M

    Barney “If nothing else it’s continued existence proves what a tolerant lot we Irish are.” The Sunday Independent is still far and away the most successful Irish newspaper. Even in the cut throat Sunday markey it sells close to 300k copies (ie 30 times Daily Ireland) and has a readserrship of over 1,000,000. No newspaper even comes close.

  • barney

    Thanks Keith, proves my point. You can’t get more tolerant than that. The paper is staffed by professional cranks and hired opinionators to push the quirky editorial line of a half-brit and still people buy it. I read the darned thing every Sunday myself – on the web. It’s very entertaining at times and the sports coverage isn’t too bad either. Does anybody want it closed down? Hardly, it reminds us of what got left behind when the brit tide went out. But does anybody outside of the anglo rock-pool take it seriously? Doubt it.

  • lamh_dearg

    Well done TG4, it does exactly what it is supposed to, to present an entertaining mix of programmes from around the globe of interest to Irish speakers (who are not all fixated by Kerry Sets and sean-nos singing). And some really sparkling comedy, who can forget C U Burn?

    This is what happens when you get a Belfast man as your first CEO.

  • Bored

    The Sunday Inod does represent a particularly bizarre outlook on Irish life. I lived in Dublin for a long time, and while a regular reader, have to say that it’s craven reporting of Posh ‘n Becks style puff and it’s consistently and quite clearly deliberately rancorous editorial outlook (Eoghan Harris anyone – jesus the guy would end up with a row with himself in the mirror) did tend to wear after a while. That said, things could be worse – Sunday World Northern Edition – possibly the closest thing to a school magazine staffed by deprived and semi-literate children on the newstands today.

  • maca

    “The editorial Maca. I couldn’t find it on the net”

    The net is all I have 🙂
    Brendan O’Connor wrote a few smart-arse words on the subject. Does he actually get paid for this sort of rubbish?

  • GavBelfast

    Barney, you’re not seriously suggesting nearly 300,000 sales each week is indicative of mere tolerance are you? In the available market, it’s a phenomenal sales performance.

    Still, if you want to keep digging, go right ahead.

    As for TG4, it’s an odd mix all right. I don’t speak Welsh, but somehow S4C looks a better model for how a minority language channel can mix the contemporary, the traditional and best of ‘Saesneg’, but then it does have the output of BBC Wales/Cymru and C4 to support it, not RTE.

  • barney

    gavbelfast

    “mere tolerance” is nothing to be sniffed at, especially by a belfast unionist. I read the SI every week and I tolerate it so there’s a least some degree of “mere tolerance” at work, the only question is ‘how much’? Judging by Ireland’s enthusiasm for the British Royal Family, rejoining the Commonwealth, voting for PD revionisim, cheerleading the latest Bush invasion and leaving the EU, it’s fair to say there’s quite a lot of tolerance going on, IMO. The sports coveage isn’t too bad, tolerable even, as I’ve said before.

  • barney

    “revisionism”

  • OIlbhear Chromaill

    iluvni – since when did you get so particular about what Tg4 broadcasts. This is summer – channel 4 are broadcasting wall to wall big brother.
    However once the new BBC charter reflects the fact that the Irish language exists and that the corporation is obliged to support it, TG4 should be getting something in the region of £120m (what Welsh TV gets) from the licence fund. This will mean much greater resources for the Irish language station.
    It’s happening.
    And the likes of iluvni- and the Sunday Independent – are too late and too ignorant to stop it.

  • OIlbhear Chromaill

    iluvni – since when did you get so particular about what Tg4 broadcasts. This is summer – channel 4 are broadcasting wall to wall big brother.
    However once the new BBC charter reflects the fact that the Irish language exists and that the corporation is obliged to support it, TG4 should be getting something in the region of £120m (what Welsh TV gets) from the licence fund. This will mean much greater resources for the Irish language station.
    It’s happening.
    And the likes of iluvni- and the Sunday Independent – are too late and too ignorant to stop it.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    Why’s Irish Gaelic entitled to the same financing as Welsh? You can’t seriously be suggesting that there are the same number of Irish speakers in the UK as Welsh speakers…

  • barney

    There is no such language as “Irish Gaelic” so it’s unlikely that anyone is putting forward such a suggestion. Could you possible be intending to invent a language simply to apply for funding? That would never fool the British taxpayer, 🙂