Great to see the documentary work of Tramore film-maker and journalist Patrick Butler on the RTE 2 New Directors slot last week. His documentary, Inside The Dead Zoo was a fascinating and very nostalgic look at behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum. Many viewers will have the vivid memories of a school tour to see the vast selection of marine and earth life. I was again struck by the huge skeletal structure of the whale and it all came back to me. Those were strange and innocent times when such trips included a visit to the cigarette factory of Players Wills and a stop off at the Artane Boys Home. Little did we know.

Butler excelled in interesting editing and shots of a wide range of creatures. He managed the tricky feat of allowing the camera to seek out great angles that made the dead animals seem alive. He works for Aileen O’Meara’s Twin Track Media and has received the funding to make a documentary on child trafficking in West Africa.


RTE1 have a new series of the Mentalist and this good looking psychologist trickster has caught the worldwide imagination as the series goes from strength to strength. They are still carrying the Red John story not that it is particularly interesting but a good looking actor does push up the ratings and the support or guests is increasing with Glazer from Starsky and Hutch doing a small spot in the opening show. Oh how the mighty have fallen in the fickle world of television.

The Missions

Even after watching the two-part RTE1 documentary On God’s Mission, I still find it hard to understand why young Irishmen and women went off to awful faraway places to spread the word of God and the Catholic religion to people who must have had God’s of their own and a culture of their own. The statistics from the thirties up until the sixties was that thousands of bright young idealistic people went off in religious robes to tropical places and put themselves at risk of torture, murder and disease to spread their own faith. Many of them died before they reached the age of thirty and their orders had little protection for them. Many went where they were obviously not welcome, with a poor grasp of language and only a blind faith that they were doing God’s work.

Was life so awful at home that these poor souls embarked on a wing and a prayer?

Many actually managed to do good work and will be remembered for the humanitarian achievements in sanitation and health. The photos of row after row of young faces in convents and seminaries was a sad record. Some spoke well of the venture or adventure, others who survived felt they were like lambs to the slaughter and were abandoned by their superiors.

Irish Dragons

The RTE1 Dragon’s Den came back with a much better sense of occasion and the Lady Dragon Sarah Newman made her investment to everyone’s delight. I must say she looks a lot better with a happier face, looking more attractive, great hairstyle and with lots more energy. A girl with an organic burger Dee surprised with the quality of her burger pitch and she managed to confuse a dragon and get a much better deal. Way to go girl.

Euro Wrong

RTE1 gave the Late Late Show over to their selection for a song to represent Ireland in the Eurovision. Five average to poor and uninteresting songs were put forward. I am not sure how they were actually selected but Johnny Logan had some axe to grind with RTE so he grinded and sang as well – What’s Another Year? I accept that Niamh Kavanagh is a good singer but the winning entry It’s For You sound like it has the theme from Titanic as a backing track – all big ballad and a flute solo. Add to this Kavanagh’s costume which looked like a cast off from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.


Over 443 complaints were made to OFCOM about Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner describing contestant Sharon Davis’s performance as like “watching faecal matter that won’t flush.”

OFCOM said it was “well established” that shows like this have judges who may be offensive but cleared the show of any wrong doing.

ITV got over 1,500 complaints as well.