Nighthawks (TV series)

Genre Comedy
Directed by Various
Starring Shay Healy
Country of origin Ireland
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 298
Producer(s) David Blake-Knox
Anne Enright
Briain MacLochlainn
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30-40 mins
Original network Network 2
Original release 11 October 1988 – 16 April 1992
Followed by Later On 2

Nighthawks was an Irish television series broadcast on Network 2 (now known as RTÉ Two). Shay Healy presented.[1] It was part of the major re-brand of RTÉ Two as Network 2 in 1988.

The programme, which began broadcasting in the late 1980s, was a three times-weekly, late-night series.[2] Nighthawks was produced for its first two seasons by David Blake-Knox. In its third season the series producer was Anne Enright, later to become a Booker Prize-winning novelist.[3] In its final season, it was produced by Briain Mac Lochlainn.[4] The Irish Film and Television Awards-nominated director Charlie McCarthy and producers David McKenna and Philip Kampf also worked on the programme.[5] The show's signature tune was composed by Ronan Johnston.[6] It also featured several contributory sketches from Nuala Kelly,[7] Joe Taylor, and Orla McGovern.[8]

An early star of the series was Northern Irish comedian Kevin McAleer, who specialised in rambling but amusing monologues to camera. The Irish actor/comedian-turned British television presenter Graham Norton also appeared on Nighthawks early in his career.[9]

Nighthawks was produced by RTÉ Raidió Teilifís Éireann. It was broadcast three nights per week. The regular soap opera was originally written by David Blake-Knox, and started off as a two-hander between "Hay Healy",and Tanya (the comic creation of Joanne McAteer) They were later joined by burly Russian character Boris, played by Stanley Townsend. Lots of stand-ups, comedy actors and comedy writers wrote for the show but, from the second season, the late Gerry McNamara was the chief writer and script editor. Morgan Jones, Joe Taylor and Ann-Marie Hourihane were some of the regular "company" actors. Anne Marie Hourihane also wrote a number of skecthes and presented a weekly film review. Nighthawks was devised by David Blake Knox. John Comiskey created the shooting "grammar" of the series, and Shay Healy introduced the "4" Minute" Interview.

In 1992, Brian Mac Lochlainn won a Jacob's Award for his production of Nighthawks.[10]

In December 2012 a one off special called Nighthawks Rehashed was aired on RTÉ. The documentary took a look at the unique show that mixed comedy and current affairs with a compilation of vintage interviews from the series.[11]


  1. Nighthawks at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  2. " 27 January 2004". The View. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  3. "Low-profile literary purist gatecrashes Booker party", Irish Independent, 2007-10-17, retrieved 2007-10-17
  4. "The Irish Bookfair 2007". London, Saint Patrick's Day. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  5. "Charlie McCarthy". Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  6. "BIOG: Rojo". Rojomusic. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  7. "Details for Nuala Kelly". Reactors Agency. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  8. "Personal Details - Orla (Órla) Mc Govern". Irish Actors Network. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  9. "GRAHAM NORTON". NYT. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  10. The Irish Times, "Winners of radio and TV awards", 16 November 1992
  11. "Who's that on the old 'Nighthawks' re-run? It's so Graham Norton. . .". Irish Independent. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
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