Saturday, 23rd September 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

Cue the reviews!

On Sunday night the much anticipated “Redwater”, started on our national broadcaster RTE (it will be screened at a later date, on the BBC, in “Old Blighty”), stimulating much Facebook chatter, airwave media interest and lots of other social media attention.

You could not avoid the fact that you just had to be in front of the gogglebox, settled with a cup of tea, just after Jean delivered her Sunday night weather forecast. The families of Waterford sat around their “Custard and jelly”, like the good old days, and eagerly tuned in to see who they might recognise as an extra on the drama and what scenery they could identify, being a place they might have visited, walked or have swam.

The village of Dunmore East would broadcast the show “live”, on the biggish screen outside the Strand Inn’s very own

“Rub-A-Dub”. From one of the exact spots, where we would be introduced to the very characters who will fill our Sunday nights for the foreseeable future. Namely, Kat and Alfie, aka Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie. These two “Eastenders’ Royalty” would be bringing, in no doubt equal measure, their Cockney charm, “Porky pies” and lots of “Catherine Zeta Jones” to the Sunny South East. Would you “Adam and Eve” it anyone?

Remember folks that this drama is an offshoot of that BBC institution, screened mercilessly, many times a week on the national broadcaster of the UK. Did we expect to see a different format or were we going to be delivered the very same old, just with an Irish twang? There were rumours that the whole series could have been filmed in any number of other European destinations, Portugal or even “Bubble and Squeak”, they were all in with a shout.

By “Friar Tuck” the location team chose the area around the Suir Estuary, namely, Dunmore East, Passage, Crooke and so on. In fact we recognised all these areas in the first episode. The opening village fun run, linking all the streets of these villages and that

“Bottle of Sauce” running seamlessly from beach to beach. What a talented beast!

Right from the starting title sequence, we could see that this was not going to be a run of the mill Eastenders spin off. There was “Barney Rubble” from the opening scenes, which would set a rather dark sinister feel to the programme. There was an early edge, that I am sure will be carried throughout the whole drama. Who knows what “Tony Blair’s” will unfold over the next few Sunday nights?

With our national broadcaster’s Nationwide programme, featuring Waterford very heavily in recent weeks, we have not seen such levels of interest in all things Waterford for some time now. It will be vital that the millions of people who will ultimately tune into “Redwater”, to realise that like “Walford”, “Redwater” is a fictional place. Admittedly, a “Tutti Frutti” of a place and the weather gods appear to have done their bit as well, “Shabba Ranks”.

The location is a beautiful place on the coast of our Waterford County and as such there will be a huge effort needed to absorb this message and deliver additional tourism Euros across the whole county. If we are to hear the tills ringing, “Cab Ranks” being filled on the back of this drama, that will reach millions of people both in Ireland and the UK, then we must develop a strategy and a “Jackie Chan” that works for us.

All the stakeholders involved in these projects, must now work together to capitalise on this unprecedented free publicity we are securing on prime time viewing slots. Coupled with the new Waterford Greenway’s impetus, we have a unique tourism message that will surely draw many more “Billy Bunters” to our “Roger Moore”.

I suppose that the secret would be the many, many independent operators, should push towards developing their own marketing and awareness campaigns? To this extent they need to be encouraged to do so.

With a bit of luck we can all get “Sheffield United” at just what “Redwater” might bring to us. Who knows we might even see more “Bees and Honey” coming to Waterford?

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