BBC Studios Production Drama North and Scotland and Treasure Entertainment are producing Smother, a new six-part domestic noir thriller for Irish public broadcaster RTÉ.

Written by Kate O’Riordan (Mr Selfridge, The Spanish Princess), Smother is an investigative thriller about the secrets families keep from each other, set in a small town on the beautiful, wild and rugged coast of County Clare.

When Val Ahern’s husband Denis is found dead at a foot of a cliff close to her home the morning after a family party, she begins to look at the events of the previous night to examine Denis’s relationships with his children, step-children and his siblings in order to find out who might have been responsible for his brutal death. The deeper matriarch Val delves into her family’s secrets the more she realises how her late husband’s controlling, manipulative behaviour had affected each member of the family in their own way. Will she uncover the truth of who killed Denis, and if she does, will her family survive the exposure of the lies and hurt that have lain buried for years?

Smother has been created and developed by BBC Studios Drama North and Scotland in partnership with Dublin-based Treasure Entertainment, for Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ. It is being produced by Rob Walpole and Rebecca O’Flanagan from Treasure with Executive Producers Tom Sherry and Michael Parke from BBC Studios and lead writer, Kate O’Riordan. Other writers supporting the project include Tom Farrelly, Daniel Cullen and Ursula Rani Sarma.

Dermot Horan, Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at RTÉ said: “RTÉ is delighted to work with Treasure Entertainment and BBC Studios to bring more Irish drama to Irish audiences. Working with international partners enables RTÉ to develop more projects with Irish producers, directors and writers. It also expands our drama slate and by being included in BBC Studios’ international drama catalogue, it gives Irish projects a major global distribution platform to bring their talents to the world.”

Writer and Executive Producer Kate O”Riordan said: “I wanted to make a drama about contemporary Irish women set in the west of Ireland – a dark twisting thriller with a focus on challenges of modern motherhood . When does selfless ‘mother love’ become smothering? In the aftermath of a tragic death Val Ahern and her daughters will explore their difficult complex mother-daughter relationships while simultaneously dealing with the shocking realisation that one of them may have been driven to murder.”

Tom Sherry, Head of BBC Studios Drama North and Scotland said: “I’m delighted we’re working with Kate and Treasure to bring this powerful and compelling TV drama series to the screen and to have won our first scripted commission for RTÉ.”

Michael Parke, Executive Producer for BBC Studios said: “It’s so exciting to be able to bring Kate O’Riordan’s gripping and emotionally truthful scripts to life. Kate’s take on the central but evolving role of the mother at the heart of Irish society rings so true but I am confident it will also resonate to audiences outside Ireland. Everyone has secrets they wouldn’t want their mother to find out…”

Rob Walpole, Producer for Treasure said: “We are delighted to be working with BBC Studios and Kate O’Riordan, a writer whose work we really admire, to bring this captivating family drama to RTÉ viewers and audiences around the world. We also really very happy to have the much-valued support of Screen Ireland and the WRAP fund as we embark on this new adventure.”

The project, which will shoot in its entirety in the west of Ireland, has also attracted the support of Screen Ireland and The WRAP (Western Region Audio-Visual Producers) Fund. BBC Studios is distributing the drama internationally.

Staff Reporter

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