RTE1 hit a raw spot last week with their Prime Time Investigates look at bullying and cyber bullying among schoolchildren in Ireland. It was a shameful catalogue of mindless bullying of weaker children by mobile phone, physical fighting and intrusive videoing on phones of inappropriate behaviour. A girl from the Kilmacthomas area told a harrowing tale of bullying and it was sad that one in ten children saw it as just part of life. Schools came across as damage limitation with the impact of legal issues more important than pupils welfare. Schools blamed parents and parents were in self-denial.

One in five students have had embarrassing or nasty photos and video taken of them and sent mobile to mobile or internetted to YouTube or Bebo.


If you have the digital channel Sci-Fi, then you should look out for the wizard of a mini-series, Tin Man, based loosely or re-imagined from the Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. It went out last December to great acclaim in America and now Sci-Fi has it. DG is the girl/waitress who never fitted in to small-town life and is played with visions of a Lavender-eyed woman and a sorceress Azkadellia who rules the Outer Zone (OZ). DG meets Glitch with a zipper in his skull and only half a brain, played by Alan Cumming. There’s a policeman called Tin Man and a Viewer (half man, half lion) called Raw. They travel a sort of occasionally yellow Brick Road to Central City where Richard Dreyfuss is Mystic Man. There is even a little dog called Tutor. There is a great baddie called the Anti-Sun Seeder.

You will love it for the graphics, the journey, the familiarity of the adventure and the timeless magical quality of the story.

Steam Engine

Heartbeat returned for a quick blast of tunes and steam in a dodgy nasty Nazi, mistaken identity, story that was as far-fetched as Daft David in charge of a runaway steam-engine. This was quickly followed by Ross kemp in Ultimate Force in a guns and turban-terrorists in the sand with serious faces, mock serious dialogue between Yanks and Brits versus Al Quaida in posher accents and laptops. Kemp holds this computer game of a show going and Heather Peace is the token female.

Bits And Bytes

James Nesbitt is to star in a BBC one-off drama, Five-Minutes Of Heaven, about the murder of a Catholic teenager in Belfast in 1975. The fact-based drama will look at events from the view of the Ulster Volunteer Force’s member responsible for the murder, and the dead teenager’s 11-year-old brother. Script is by Omagh (the tv play) writer Guy Hibbert.

Waking The Dead is to return in 2009 with a five-part series, the eight series in fact, which will again star Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston. Silent Witness will return also for a 13th series.

No Joke

For sheer dullness, avoid the BBC2, The Comedy Map Of Britain, with its weird drycleaner of Lee Evans suits, or the city councillor who lamented that I’m Alan Partridge, missed a huge opportunity to promote Norwich. Even Douglas Adam’s English Tutor was featured. Who? Adams wrote The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. .

Bored Green

I know people raved about Mad Men as being so original etc. but last week the ad-men just sat around the office watching the black and white tv showing of the Nixon v Kennedy presidential election and taking bets on the colour of a secretary’s panties. It ended with one guy putting Crme de Mente (Green drink) in the watercooler, while the others chased the secretary to pull up her skirt. Was a glimpse of stocking ever shocking?


If it isn’t chefs and cooking, it’s programmes about historic food, so The Supersizers Go Wartime and rationing and mad make-do nosh. Wartime radio had Government advice from Potato Pete and Doctor Carrot. The public got lectures about mock duck, mock crab, ersatz cream and dried eggs. All sorts of food made from margarine and vegetables. While Winston Churchill in the Cabinet War Room dined on oysters, roast venison, stilton, chardonnay, vintage champagne, claret, port and brandy. Do as I say, not as I do.