Yes folks, Ryan Tubridy has arrived in the purple on The Late Late Show. Shame about the desk, that looks like a hospital bed tray. But he stuck it to the Taoiseach by asking the ordinary but pointed questions and the Taoiseach came across like a lip-licking chimp and Ryan was the champ.

Round two and Ryan put Bryan McFadden on the spot by asking the simple question – if you care for your kids so much, why do you live in Australia most of the year? So it’s work and lifestyle before kids? Bur Ryan talks over some answers and it was his show, his way.

Why, oh why, spoil it all with a movie star whose only gripe was how Hollywood spelt her name and then she went and made it worse by not liking Tayto!

Grim Bronte

No wonder ITV is losing money like an Irish bank, then they decide to commission another version of Wuthering Heights, from a new trendier writer, Peter Bowker, who recently wrote Desperate Romantics, was flavour of the month in bodice rippers. He has hacked at the book (not a bad thing) but then went coy on the sex (they lay together). The cruelty and violence is more graphic. But it’s still a brooding, moody and pouty story with the wonderful Sarah Lancasthire as Nelly, who now narrates the obsessed tale.

At times I expected Heathcliff to flap his big drizabone type coat and turn into a vampire. Burn Gorman, who glowers as Bill Sykes in the West End Oliver, glowered and boozed as Hindley, the evil step-brother.

But why would programme makers think this story needed another remake – is it because the book is near the top of the paperback charts again? Or have they run out of ideas?

Wuthering Problems

Sometimes the behind the scenes problems are more fun than the actual show. For example, on the shooting of Wuthering Heights, there were freak weather storms and when they wanted mist and grey moors, they got sunshine and midges. The crew went on strike twice and the cast, in full costume, passed the pickets and were pelted with sandwiches. After three weeks, due to a technical glitch, all the rushes were lost and had to be re-shot. Horse handlers wouldn’t do overtime and the cast insisted on being transported in horse drawn carriages to and from location to stay in character.

Apparently, despite the above, the show came in two days early and under budget…

Art Warming

BBC1 showed a feel-good adaptation from a children’s best-selling book at 8.30, when an earlier time might have suited but it was a beautiful family-oriented story. Framed, based on the Frank Cottrell Boyce book, told the story of funky art curator Quentin (Trevor Eve) who has to move the London National Gallery collection to a cavern in North Wales; apparently where they were stored during World War II. Quentin is single and a fuddy duddy, who knows more about paintings than people. Then he meets the apple-cheeked Angharad, a teacher on a bike with love in her eyes. It’s a Heartbeat story of a small village stuffed with quaint characters, a batty butcher, two scatty sisters, one blind who drives the car while the seeing sister steers. The kids are great, fresh air tomboys and the stories unfold like apple-pie with cinnamon, as these kids, whose father has done a sort of disappearing act, set up a coffee café called Café Da and make quality skinny macchiatos. As well as stealing a million pound Van Gogh, they bring joy and love into the valley and no doubt they all live happy ever after, surrounded by nature and art.

Toy Soldiers

Too much talking heads and shots of maps in the RTE1 programme If Lynch Had Invaded, about the Irish Government’s response to the Derry Siege in 1969. There was the nice Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, telling the nation that we cannot stand by and see innocent people being killed on British territory in Northern Ireland. Oh how brave were the hawks in that Government, who wanted to face down with force, the might of armies and fighter aircraft.

Depressing to hear them seem so certain of themselves, just like today’s lot in the Dail and their bullish certainty about Nama. Kinda scary.

Sing Up

Great to see and hear Gareth Malone back on BBC2, with a new choir programme. The Choir – Unsung Town. He went to a dull area, South Oxhey, with a mixed population and started up a community choir at the behest of a lady vicar and he worked hard and got about two hundred people joining in. Singing is just great and I loved the enthusiasm and energy of it all. I know people will say it’s only because tv cameras are there, but it is also about sharing and talking to new neighbours. Places seem to have lost a sense of community and shows like this open it all out. Sing up folks and be happy.