By Helena Sheehan
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Extra resources for Irish Television Drama: A Society and Its Stories
The complexities would become apparent in due course. Not surprisingly, personnel were recruited from the worlds of the press, radio, cabaret and theatre, as well as from foreign television services. Quite naturally, various television formats showed the influence of traditions formed in these previous media. News and current affairs, for example, tended to look to the conventions and procedures pioneered by the popular press and mediated through radio. Drama tended to draw primarily from theatre in its first years, although strands of influence from literature, radio and cinema, both domestic and foreign, were also in evidence.
Constant exposure of both programme makers and audience to a great deal of British and American television has always been an important source of influence as well. The earliest efforts in the field of television drama in most countries have been marked by a predominance of adaptations, with original written-for-television material taking some time to come into its own. In a country like Ireland, with such strong and internationally honoured literary and theatrical traditions, it was even more bound to be so.
Showing what harm could result from envy and greed and the corruption of truth, were plays such as The Old Ladies and Patter O'Rourke. Showing what devastation could be wrought by struggles for domination and bullying human relationships, were plays such as A Walk on the Water, Shadows in the Sun and An Bullaí. But ultimately transgressions were transgressions of individuals. Theft was put down to the individual thief, although A Matter of Conscience did indicate that what the tinkers might do illegally was nothing compared to what a businessman might do legally.