Billy McGrath- Course Designer

Billy is responsible for all development, editorial content and ensuring a top class production on screen, developing new ideas and emerging talent.

Billy was a major pioneering figure in the development of Irish music (manager, promoter and PR) and comedy (performer, writer and promoter) before training with RTÉ as a TV producer / director in the mid 1980s. Both passions were to the fore as new ideas and talent were brought to RTÉ screens before Billy moved to London as features director on the BAFTA award-winning Channel 4 music series WIRED (Initial TV London ‘88).

His documentary films with U2, The Pogues and Clannad were screened at festivals in Dublin, London, Washington, Brazil and on TV throughout the world. In the 1990s Billy again immersed himself in script and comedy. Working between London, Belfast and Dublin, Billy also kick started an Irish comedy circuit, won a European Script Award, The National Entertainment Award for Comedy, was the first course designer and trainer with Irish Screen Training (Writing Comedy for TV) plus gained project development and management experience with major production companies and broadcasters in Ireland and the UK.

Returning from London in 1998, Billy wrote and produced the history of Irish TV comedy – Gay Byrne’s Make ‘Em Laugh – for Tyrone Productions/RTE (top 10 viewed programme of the year), joined Ireland’s first commercial broadcaster TV3 as Executive Producer and soon after was appointed RTE’s first Commissioning Editor of Entertainment (2000-02) before re-joining the commercial world. Billy’s first independent commission Close Encounters with Keith Barry (a talent spotted while at RTE) was nominated for both an IFTA and Rose D’Or Award plus remains RTE International’s biggest ever success in the international TV Entertainment sales market.

In late 2005 SIDELINE was established with Billy responsible for all development, editorial content and ensuring a top class production on screen, developing new ideas and emerging talent.