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The cast of the radio drama, The Kennedys of Castleross

The cast of The Kennedys of Castleross

The Kennedys of Castleross was the first irish serial drama or soap opera which was broadcast on Raidió Éireann from 1955 to 1973.

The serial was devised by Arks advertising agency on behalf of Fry-Cadbury and the first script writers were Mark Grantham and Bill Nugent. The first episode was broadcast on 14 April 1955. The cast included Marie Kean, T. P. McKenna, Vincent Dowling, Angela Newman, and Philip O'Flynn.

Each fifteen-minute episode was transmitted at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The programme's signature tune was the second movement of Hamilton Harty's An Irish Symphony, sub-titled The Fair Day.

During its long run, various other scriptwriters worked on The Kennedys of Castleross, including playwright Hugh Leonard and broadcaster David Hanly.

When Fry-Cadbury withdrew its sponsorship in the 1960s, Raidió Éireann bowed to popular demand and retained the serial as part of its regular programming. However, after an almost 18-year unbroken run, the station announced in January 1973 that The Kennedys of Castleross had reached the end of its natural life and would be cancelled. As a measure of how much the long-running soap opera's popularity had declined since its heyday, Radio Éireann received only one letter of protest following the announcement.

For the final episode, Raidió Éireann broke with convention and broadcast a special one-hour edition on Saturday 24 February 1973.

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1rst episode fragment