It was great to see Brendan Conroy, who won an IFTA for Best Supporting Actor in Kings, and in his witty acceptance speech he acknowledged the original stageplay, The Kings Of The Kilburn High Road, and its original production director, Jim Nolan. If my memory serves me right Conroy was not in the original Garter Lane production, but I could be wrong. It was great to see GARAGE scoop several awards and great for Killinascully creator Pat Shortt who got best actor. Also great to see No Frontiers presenter Kathryn Thomas win the Irish TV personality Of The Year, even if at least four of the nominees were people I’d never heard of before. Kathryn had the best dress, as usual.
If you popped over to MTVone to catch Kerry Katona: Crazy In Love, it was a train crash or a sequence from Crash Test Dummies. What a sensation seeker – apparently she never sang a song on Atomic Kitten singles. How can they get five or six episodes out of this motor mouth mum who would sell her babies photo-scans to the highest bidder. It’s going to be a boy and she’s promised her partner a Ferrari!
BBC2 had the right idea with a snappy half-hour story about a thirty-year old woman driver in Iran. Called the little Schumacher, Laleh Seddigh has to overcome male prejudice and hostility to race in such a male dominated sport. Girl Racer caught the contradictions of a confusing country for women where two-thirds of undergraduates and one-third of the workforce are female, yet none can work without the permission of a male relative. Unfortunately, the programme got bogged down in aspects of prostitution and bad hijab stories of an intolerant Truth Police who rule rigidly on religious matters as to what is Islamic or un-Islamic. Seddigh was glamorous but she cheated by changing car colours and engine sizes to beat the male drivers and go suspended for a year.
There’s holy murder in Ros Na Run as dodgy ex-priest dozy David gets all dressed up in the cleric gear ordered by his blessed and scheming mother and he intends to wear same for Riona’s wedding. Berni flips out and when she finds she is not making the wedding cake either, she is furious. And Mack missed his chance with new girl on the block. There’s a new pizza-chef at O’Dowd’s and he is sure to turn hearts, yet. Caomhan, the chef, is Marcus Lambe, son of Geraldine Plunkett and Peadar Lambe, who was in early episodes of Ros Na Run, as was his sister Suzi.
The new BBC1 Sunday political thriller is just too complicated for any night, not just its Sunday slot. Lost has spoiled tv makers into thinking people like this sort of vague guff of random shootings, multiple tv screens, uncertain date into the future, blood tests, ID cards, dodgy police, a maths wizard, conspiracy, sinister plans and nobody seems to be the good guys, as if it matters.
BBC1 have brought back Hotel Babylon for a third series, and even without Tamsin Outhwaite, it has lots of fun, glitz and glamour and interesting if a little implausible storylines. Max Beesley has moved up to the top banana position and Dexter Fletcher is great as the fixer cum concierge. Anna seems to have changed lipstick and heels and become a lady with a social conscience who promises the manager a good time at some future date. In its glitzy way it zips along and involves about ten eye-candy performers which can’t be bad for a slow Tuesday. Someone has described this series as not so much a soap as a bubble bath so why not let it blow the froth off your fizz.
Freezing on BBC2 last week was a three-part posh sitcom in the style of Notting Hill or Curb Your Enthusiasm that got a pilot episode showing on BBC3, a while ago. But it is too full of in-jokes to give it popular appeal; it’s navel-gazing with lots of tv and movie jokes like the Hugh Bonneville character meets Richard E. Grant and congratulates him on his role in Notting Hill but viewers should know that Bonneville was in that movie too. Holby City is slagged off, yet the writer of Freezing wrote for Casualty (of which Holby is a spin-off).
Then there’s the American actress character played by the director’s own wife, Elizabeth McGovern.
Bytes and Bites
BBC is planning to set up a comedy college in a bid to develop new writing talent. They will recruit six new writers or pairs of same and train them alongside established talent. Armando Iannucci and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps creator, Susan Nickson, have already signed up as mentors.
HOLLYOAKES star, Summer Strallen, is the new Maria in The Sound Of Music. No wonder Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared in Hollyoaks recently. The new dual advert runs – Hollyoaks and The Sound Of Music, some of your favourite things.
WHO WON the Writers’ Strike? After 100 days screen and tv writers returned to work after a strike that cost the Los Angeles County economy about 3.2 billion dollars. Writers won a new three-year contract that gives them a piece of the profits from new media like Internet streams and downloads.
MINDER – Five and Talkback Thames plan to remake the iconic series of Minder, those originally aired on ITV from 1979 to 1994, running for ten series. Despite being a vehicle for Dennis Waterman, following his success in The Sweeney, it was George Cole who became the best-known face as used-car salesman, Arthur Daley. Now, Five, who spent STG £300 million to take Neighbours from the BBC, plan to get Shane Richie, who played Alfie Moon in EastEnders, to play Daley. The original show, still doing repeats, had audiences up to 18 million at one time and was sold to over 80 countries. But the world ain’t your lobster anymore . . .