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EASTENDERS TAKE ON THE STREET IN TV REVOLUTION; End of the dark ages.

IRELAND is about to go EastEnders crazy in one of the biggest TV revolutions in the country's history.

Thousands of homes are planning parties next Sunday for the launch of the country's third mainstream station, TV3.

Rural areas which have never been able to pick up Britain's BBC, ITV and Channel 4, have already begun a countdown to 5.30pm, when they switch out of the dark ages.

For nearly 40 years many homes have survived on RTE only.

For many homes across Ireland it will be the first chance to see EastEnders, one of the most successful soaps in TV history.

"Thousands of people in Ireland have never even caught a glimpse of Grant, Tiffany or the Queen Vic," said a TV3 spokeswoman.

"Just as RTE broadcasts Coronation Street we will be showing EastEnders as it is shown in Britain.

"Coronation Street is often the most watched show in Ireland - and now it will have tough competition." TV3 will be available to all homes with a normal aerial, because it is not dependent on satellite dishes, cable or decoders.

The channel will broadcast 100 hours a week and is particularly aimed at the 15-44 age group, those most loved by advertisers.

It boasts Sports Tonight, the only nightly sports show on any channel and it will have two pop shows, the Pepsi Chart Show and Pop On 3.

It will also broadcast the hottest new American comedy, Just Shoot Me, starring Laura San Giacomo, which is currently pulling in more viewers than Friends and Seinfeld, plus a hot new Australian soap, Breakers.

Highlights of launch-night include Merlin, the most expensive UK two- parter ever made, with a cast including Sam Neill and John Gielgud.

TV3 is hoping to attract eight per cent of the viewing public in the first few weeks.

And 15 per cent of its programming must be Irish, building to 25 per cent in five years.
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Author:Gallagher, Jim
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 13, 1998
Words:320
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