It was great to see local dance troupe Super Heroes, Irish Style, compete in the popular TG4 An Jig Gig. Young Katie Reid looked beautiful and confident as she spoke to the judges and told them they deserved to go through because they were very good Irish dancers. Her friends Abby and Leah looked gorgeous in their glittery costumes. Much to the disappointment of mums, Anne Reid and Hazel Cleary, the judges did not select them for the dance offs. No matter girls, you did yourselves proud.
RTE get a fair bit of nostalgia mileage out of showbands and the new Sunday night series, A Little Bit Showband, is good, with some new footage as well. Fronted by Ronan Collins, the opening programme told a much sadder story of Cork comedy drummer, Joe McCarthy of the Dixies. There was tenderness and heartache in the story. Joe and his wife had several boys and longed for a girl, so they adopted one through a Radharc tv programme and the scene when a nun handed the ten-week old girl over was sad and beautiful, as the little boys welcomed home a new sister. Later, the story of the death of Joe’s son and his new wife was such a poignant moment and a strange tv counterpoint to the happy-go-lucky antics of the drummer in many clips. Behind the clown, a sadder reality.
TV3 are showing some of the best US comedy and look out for Modern Family, with that great comedy star, Ed O’Neill, who was a howl in the oldie bur goldie, Hooters! Comedy, Married . . . With Children. The new show features three sections of one family and you get quirky inserts from a documentary team who are studying this dysfunctional brood, who don’t care who is looking in. There is not a duff or dud character in the ten actors, especially the children. O’Neill is a howl as ever and his double takes at the antics of him young as he tries to be younger and trendier. This could rival Curb Your Enthusiasm for laughs.
The world of children’s stories was turned upside down with BBC4s Enid, about the complicated fantasy world of world famous author Enid Blyton, who created The Secret books and Noddy. Noddy became for her the son she never had. This was a bleak and cruel programme that debunked and exposed Blyton as a monster who ignored her first husband and children in her single-minded urge to produce over 750 books in a lifetime. It was no wonder that people accused her of using a team of ghost writers. But she was driven by bad memories of a miserable dejected childhood. Helena Bonham Carter was frighteningly real in this programme as Enid.
Be afraid, be very afraid, might be the message to both film and television programme makers, as the phenomenal success of a video game, Call Of Duty : Modern Warfare 2. This controversial shoot-em-up or “first person shooter” as it is now called, grossed over €200 million in first 24 hours on the market. No wonder soap opera providers are afraid with the downward trend of their primetime products. Consider that worldwide these video games can only be shown on Xbox 300 and PlayStation 3 and that there are about 58 million owners of these consoles, not to mention pirate and copycat models as well.
This particular games has raised a lot of heated debate and not just among the chattering classes and this one has a series of warnings on the packaging and also within the game itself. However, these warnings seem to encourage more curiosity and larger sales.
In one day in America, this product recouped its $200 million development and promotional costs. Scary stuff.
This impact of UTVs Collision, if you pardon the smashing pun, has given much hope to beleaguered programme makers, as this show and format has been sold, mostly as two mini series, to America, New Zealand and several European stations. It has transpired that it was screened in New Zealand prior to its UK debut. Sold initially as 5x60min episodes it is mostly been shown now as 2x110mins in a mini-series package.
Great to see actress/performer, Sharon Clancy, host the UTV late night gameshow, Brain Box, where viewers try hard to phone in answers to seemingly easy answers but there is little easy euros out there. Sharon came across as beautiful, loquacious and confident as she spoke so rapidly and ad libbed to viewers for over two hours. She was in many Waterford musical shows especially the original Bryan Flynn, Pentimenti and she is now pursuing a performing career in London.
Seems like it had to happen sooner than later, that a tv programme would be made about the actual length of a piece of string. BBC2 took an hour with Alan Davies to ask maths genius Marcus du Sautoy how to measure it. Now, if it was a hard metal strip, a laser would do it by a beam but a string had stretch factors and crumple factors so it was difficult to be exact. We saw a laser up Davies nose to measure a gap between sinus and brain wall. Otherwise it was just posh scientific waffle.