Despite the hype and the stellar cast, Criminal Justice on BBC1 shown over the five nights in one hour slots turned out to be a boring procedural crime story that got more complicated by the time the innocent boy went to prison and an old lag gave his life to vindicate the boy and expose shady dealings. A pretty septic bunch of low lifes all round with a dodgy lawyer Con O Neill who was more rumpled than a pig sty and he had rotten septic feet.
This show could have told its story in two ninety minute episodes but written by an ex-lawyer we got too much court and prison detail, too much cryptic conversations and a drop dead obliviously innocent pin-up boy as the convinced victim.
I don’t know how she did it but Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE1 got Eamon Dunphy to murder a song on her show recently. The camera caught Liam Brady doing his best to keep a straight face and then John Giles got in on the act with a Nat King Cole ditty. This was a paint drying You Tube moment but not nearly as bad as the new UTV show Who Dares, Sings! Where a computer naked SAM judges when the karaoke killer sang the right notes. Even co-host Denise Van Outen couldn’t save this turkey. So you get a wannabe talent show without nasty panels just a computer and not even a dodgy phone in.
Foot In It
Then Miriam puts her beautiful foot in it as she was interviewing a brave young man who has survived several cancer operations and an amputated foot. She is doing the car give-away phone call and she asks the young man has he ever won anything and if he is lucky.
Just as Spain beat Germany, RTE1 showed the biopic made back in 2003-America’s Prince: The J.F. Kennedy, J.R. Story and in its slow, insistent way, it did rekindle the old Camelot / Kennedy magic. There was the old black and white footage of little John John saluting his father’s coffin. Most of the story was told in flashback through the gossipy comments of two girls who came to lay wreaths and cross-talk about his life and much publicised loves. It must have been a terrible straw to live in a goldfish bowl of fame and expectations and the show caught those aspects well. He could not escape his destiny and if he had lived would he be where Obama is today or would he be a famous supporter like his sister, Caroline. Recent Kennedy coverage on RTE has shown that people still have a place in their hearts for a Kennedy where the legend outlives the truth.
If it isn’t entertaining then at times T.V. is preachy and holier than the rest of us. We got Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne taking on Big Tobacco and you get sad statistics like smoking causes 5.4 million deaths a year worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. As a commentator on the programme said – If they’re stupid enough to smoke….
But C4 also launched an interesting but quirky show Personal Services Required about eccentric employers mostly living and working from home looking for Personal Assistants and cleaners without knowing what they actually need. The potential bosses are a weird lot and the possible workers are equally unsuitable but it is crash-dummies vanity stuff. One woman thinks she is the next Max Clifford. But hey on a wet day, it will pass the time.
It is either desperation or the bad summer or both but you end up watching more stuff on T.V. And in the stuff category of fillers and padding, there is Ice Road Truckers on TV3. Must acknowledge that TV3 have a much improved slate of shows these days and this ice thriller is a peach – frozen or otherwise – about rig-drivers who drive off-road on ice trails to haul plant and supplies. Great thrills and spills and great big bearded grizzly characters and you get caught up in their lives and problems.
Lord Bragg of the South Bank Show has come out against such foul-mouthed T.V. presenters such as Gordon Ramsey. He said – it is out of hand, the terror of losing celebrities from successful shows; a surrender to the power of the lowest common denominator and a demolition of the notions of excellence and justified elitism. Our generation and the one behind has got this wrong.
Richard Madeley is rumoured to be taking on the role previously held by Hughie Green in a revival of the 1960’s hit show, Double Your Money. Madeley shares the same agent as Ant and Dec. The rights are owned by Green’s former lover, Christina Sharples. Unkind tabloids have suggested that Madeley is going solo in a Dump The Frump move. Ouch all round.
U.S. Remake of Life On Mars is in chaos, with the pilot show scrapped and the writer David E. Kelley walking out. Tough Life.