TG4 teen drama becomes first Irish TV show to broadcast in ISL
Good News//Irish Language

TG4 teen drama becomes first Irish TV show to broadcast in ISL

Saol Ella, an exclusive teenage 6 part drama series produced by independent TV production company Danú Media for TG4, is the first Irish TV drama production to proudly launch an Irish Sign Language (ISL) broadcast version.

Launching on Tuesday, 27th February 2024 at 12 noon with a reception in the Irish Deaf Village in Dublin 7. Present at the launch will be teenage actor Ciara Cox who plays the lead character, Ella, along with Cúla4 TV presenter Niamh Ní Chroinín, amongst many others.

Saol Ella’s Irish Sign Language (ISL) version will broadcast weekly on Cúla4 (TG4’s children’s channel) starting on 29th February at 1pm. The full boxset will also be available on the Cúla4 and TG4 Players this coming Thursday.

Saol Ella is produced by independent TV production company Danú Media and written by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde and Gemma Breathnach, bringing fun and lighthearted drama to TG4 screens that is entirely aimed at a younger teenage audience. It depicts the nuances of teenage life in an entertaining and amusing story yet throws all of the nostalgia of summer as a Gaeilgeoir to all the thousands of people who spent a term in the Coláiste Gaeilge to learn and improve their Gaeilge.

In creating the Irish Sign Language, ISL broadcast version, both TG4 and Danú Media are leading the way with Irish Sign Language Broadcast TV versions of TV Drama which will ultimately enhance the strategy of creating a more inclusive Irish society for deaf people and those with hearing loss across all age groups.

It is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 persons in the Irish Deaf community whose first language is Irish Sign Language (ISL). In addition, estimates show that there are over 5,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing young people in Irish primary and secondary schools and while the majority are not ISL users, many of these young people will identify positively with the lead character Ella, in the TG4 series Saol Ella, thus motivating more young persons with hearing challenges to learn ISL. TG4’s Saol Ella is an inspiring TV showcase as TG4 once again makes history in being the first Irish broadcaster to launch an ISL version of an Irish Language TV Drama.

Saol Ella

Saol Ella, its characters and Sign Language interpreters will bring significant awareness to the young Irish deaf community while also creating greater recognition amongst Ireland’s wider population.

As part of this pioneering TV drama project for ISL broadcast, Danú Media in its production worked exclusively with Irish Sign Language Interpreter and Gaeilgóir, Romy O Callaghan, to create the ISL version of Saol Ella for TG4. Danú Media engaged with the Irish Deaf Society and Chime with total focus on creating high quality TV drama which will be totally inclusive, entertaining and engaging for the deaf community both young and old.

"Saol Ella was an exciting and fun teenage drama series to create and produce", says Siobhán Ní Ghadhra, Series Producer and Danú Media MD, "Creating an ISL version was a new challenge for us but a very rewarding one with the opportunity to work with Sign Language Interpreters and as the first such ISL TV Drama Broadcast we’re very proud to be leading the continued development of ISL in TV broadcasting to create greater inclusion for the Deaf Community at all ages."

The Irish Sign Language (ISL) version of the series is supporting by Coimisiún na Meán through the Sound and Vision Funding Scheme. Media Development Commissioner, Rónán Ó’Domhnaill said; "Coimisiún na Meán is delighted to support the production of the Irish Sign Language (ISL) version of Saol Ella on TG4, originally part funded through the Sound & Vision Funding Scheme. This is an excellent example of the type of great programming that is supported through the Scheme with the aid of the Television Licence Fee. We congratulate Danú Media Teo and the extended team for their work and increasing accessibility to this excellent series."

TG4’s Commissioning & Acquisition's Editor, Siobhán Ní Bhrádaigh says; "We’re very proud to be launching an ISL version of Saol Ella. Our sincere congratulations to Danú Media who have worked hard to create this great series and ISL version. We hope to add to our library of ISL content in the future with content for pre-school and early school years also."

Danú Media, in its development of the ISL version of the drama series Saol Ella for TG4 also engaged with the charity, which has championed supports for all people in Ireland’s deaf community and for those with hearing loss since 1964. Chime commented; "It is fantastic that TG4’s Saol Ella is available with Irish Sign Language. This is the first Irish drama series that has been broadcast with ISL. This is not only a boost for young Deaf people who use ISL, but also helps grow awareness amongst the wider population and helps build a more inclusive society. TG4 is leading the way in this space and now we hope other broadcasters will follow their example."

Saol Ella ISL will be broadcast on the 29th of February at 1pm on TG4’s Cúla 4 and thereafter weekly on and also on the TG4 player. Follow TG4’s social media for more updates and Cúla4 and, of course, Saol Ella’s own social channels HERE.

Published on Updated on