RTÉ News: Six One is the evening news programme broadcast each night on Irish television channel RTÉ One. It airs Monday to Sunday at 6:01pm. It is Monday to Friday at 6:01pm to 7:00pm and on Saturday & Sunday at 6:01pm to 6:30pm, when it is styled as Six One News and Sport.
Six One is the dual-anchored news programme on RTÉ Television. It is currently presented by Bryan Dobson, Sharon Ní Bheoláin, Eileen Dunne, Úna O'Hagan, Aengus Mac Grianna, John Finnerty, Eileen Whelan, Kate Egan, Brian Finn, Clodagh Walsh, Vivienne Traynor and Ray Kennedy.
Teilifís Éireann made its first news broadcast at 6:00pm on 1 January 1962, the first day of full programming for the new television station. The ten-minute bulletin was read by Charles Mitchel, who remained as RTÉ's chief television newsreader until his retirement in 1984. He was accompanied in the early years by Andy O'Mahony and, from 1966, by Maurice O'Doherty.
A year after its launch, the early evening bulletin was moved to 5:50pm to accommodate a new weeknight current affairs programme called Broadsheet, which provided more detailed analysis and reportage on the issues of the day. In September 1964, the 5.50pm news became part of a new 40-minute magazine programme called Newsbeat, which featured a greater emphasis on off-beat regional stories and satire. Newsbeat was quickly reduced to 30 minutes but remained in an early evening slot shortly after 6pm. By 1967, the early evening bulletin reverted to a separate programme.
Newsbeat was broadcast for the final time on 11 June 1971 with News returned to its original 6pm slot but reduced to a short five-minute bulletin. The early evening bulletin would expand to 15 minutes in October 1972 and change timeslots on several occasions to suit various programming. In January 1975, RTÉ introduced a news summary for the deaf and hard of hearing to the early evening bulletin.
January 1980 saw the early evening news extended to a 25-40 minute slot, returned to 6pm and relaunched as Newstime, incorporating more regional news coverage, alongside a regular Countryside feature and the deaf news summary. A separate early evening news at 5:45pm was reintroduced in January 1987.
On Monday 3 October 1988, RTÉ launched its first hour-long news programme Six One News, a new format incorporating national, international and regional news as well as live interviews and sports coverage. The programme's first anchors were former political correspondent Seán Duignan and long-standing newsreader Eileen Dunne (replaced two years later by Anne Doyle).
Six One established its own place in Irish television and politics when the expected winner of the 1990 presidential election campaign, Tánaiste Brian Lenihan delivered what was universally accepted to be a disastrous live response to a crisis in his campaign. Seeking to deny that he had ever been part of unsuccessful efforts to force President Hillery to refuse a parliamentary dissolution in a way that would help Lenihan's party get back into power (claims he himself had made in an on-the-record taped interview recorded some months earlier), Lenihan tried to stare into the camera and told viewers that "on mature recollection" his earlier version was wrong and that he had made no phone calls to the presidential residence to put pressure on the President. The appearance on Six One effectively ended Lenihan's presidential campaign.
The programme is also considered to have ended the domestic political career of then Foreign Minister Gerry Collins. On 7 November 1991, in response to a leadership struggle in his party, an overly emotional, tearful Collins pleaded with the man challenging for the leadership, Albert Reynolds, not to "wreck our party right down the centre" and "burst up government". Collins's own chances of leadership were perceived to have been destroyed by his overly-emotional performance.
In 1992, Duignan left his position as presenter to become government press secretary under Albert Reynolds. Éamonn Lawlor was appointed as his successor and remained until 1996, when he became a presenter of the current affairs programme Prime Time.
His replacement was Bryan Dobson, who had been presenting the One O'Clock News for several years. In 1997, Anne Doyle left to become presenter of the Nine O'Clock News. She was replaced by Úna O'Hagan, who continued until 2003, she decided to concentrate on radio broadcasting and late night bulletins. A number of newsreaders partnered Dobson before Sharon Ní Bheoláin became permanent co-anchor in 2005.
The opening titles feature a brief description of the main headlines. The opening segment usually features Bryan Dobson introducing the main story of the day from the news wall. The other main stories of the day follow this.
After the first commercial break there is typically an interview with a person connected with the main news story. This interview often takes place in studio. This is followed by shorter, more off-beat, or regional reports. The final part of the programme includes a sports summary (with a separate presenter) and a business news round-up.
At weekends the programme is styled as RTE News and Sport and lasts for half-an-hour. The programme features a single presenter and greater emphasis is given to sports news.
During the summer months, RTÉ News: Six One is usually reduced to a half-hour news bulletin for the month of August.
Since 1950, RTÉ has broadcast a one-minute period of silence except for the ringing of a church bell linked to the Angelus, a Catholic prayer, at 12:00pm and 6:00pm. Though periodic calls have been made for its removal, a number of religious faiths outside Catholicism notably the Church of Ireland, have called for its continuation, regarding the minute as offering a chance for reflection amid a busy television schedule. (The broadcast no longer carries Catholic imagery, and instead focuses on images of people contemplating.) Because of this, the radio and television news bulletins start at 6:01pm, hence the name.
Some broadcasters at RTÉ privately welcome the delayed start time in the belief that it gives viewers a chance to catch the headlines on BBC One, UTV or Sky News before switching over to catch the start of Six One.
Some critics have mounted a campaign to abolish the Angelus on RTÉ, mostly in the Letters' pages of the Irish Times, though this is despite the fact that the Angelus at 6:00pm is one of RTÉ's most popular television programmes and is Ireland's most watched religious programme, with an average of 318,000 viewers every day. It is unclear whether RTÉ would move its bulletin back one minute to 6:00pm as that would mean that the newscast would be in direct competition to get viewers at exactly the same time as other stations.