Mayo-based writer pens new RTÉ series Obituary

WHEN her editor informs her that she will be paid per article, an obituarist for a small-town newspaper begins murdering people to avoid going broke.

However, Elvira’s plans are upended when she falls for the paper’s dogged new crime correspondent....

Penned by Castlebar-based writer Ray Lawlor, Obituary premieres on RTÉ One on Tuesday, September 26, at 10.15 p.m. All episodes will be available on RTÉ Player from September 27.

Obituary is a dark comedy crime drama in which the newspaper that 24-year-old Elvira Clancy works for falls into hard times and she is now being paid per obituary.

When deaths trickle to a halt and work dries up, Elvira soon discovers that by murdering the unpleasant residents in her small town, she will not only earn more money but discovers she has an untapped bloodlust.

The only problem for her lies with the paper’s new hire, Emerson Stafford, a suspicious crime correspondent who she begins to develop feelings for.

Obituary stars a line-up of renowned Irish actors - Siobhan Cullen (The Dry), who takes the lead as Elvira Clancy, Michael Smiley (Bad Sisters, Bloodlands) as Elvira’s protective and troubled father Ward Clancy, and Ronan Raftery (The Rook, Mortal Engines, The Terror), as ambitious new crime correspondent Emerson Stafford. It is directed by John Hayes (Dublin Murders, Bancroft).

The six-part series is produced by Galway-based production company Magamedia in association with French company About Premium Content for RTÉ and Hulu in the US, and filmed largely in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.

The series was conceived and written by Ray Lawlor, a son of Ronnie and Mary Lawlor, Pontoon Road, Castlebar.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to bring our TV show, Obituary, to RTÉ.

“Set in the fictional Mayo town of Kilraven, this is a fun, darkly twisted drama that proudly allows me to transport some of the wit and characters I encounter every day in my hometown of Castlebar into the living rooms of the Irish people.

“Hailing from a small west of Ireland town, I realised that my TV show should be set within the confines of a modest local newspaper, with the central character being an obituary writer.

"However, I faced a crucial decision regarding the type of obituary writer my protagonist should be.

"Should they be a compassionate soul who writes obituaries while providing solace to the terminally ill on their journey to the afterlife? No way.

"My obituary writer would be a serial killer, someone who, when faced with a lack of work, resorts to taking lives in order to craft her victim’s obituaries, while always making these deaths look like accidents.”

Magamedia previously produced the Irish language feature film Foscadh in Corr na Móna, which was Ireland's entry to the Oscars race in 2022.

They also produced the hit TG4 drama Corp & Anam.

Furbo-based producer Paddy Hayes said: “We are so proud to produce this show, which is set in the west of Ireland, with an entirely Irish cast and creative team, but will go out on global platforms like Hulu in the USA.

"The show was conceived and produced in Galway and Mayo and has a real flavour of west of Ireland dark gothic humour that has become really popular with the recent success of films like the Banshees of Inisherin.”