A Guard

TV3 popped out a great feature-length crime drama last week, Jack Taylor, starring Iain Glen as an unshaven ex-guard who becomes a finder. In his words, a person who looks for people and takes on the dark jobs, the guards won’t take on. But as it’s written by Irish author Ken Bruen, from his novel The Guards, it is a case of once a guard always a guard as Taylor dressed in a guards long coat seeks out missing girls in a very atmospheric wet and greasy Galway. The cast features a few usual suspects from Ros na Run and Ballykissangel to add colour to the show. Padraig Breathnach is great as a chain-smoking priest and Lawlor Roddy is excellent as a seedy drunk.

This has the makings of an occasional series that will sell well overseas with Glen as the central character down the mean streets of Galway.


The C4 series, Undercover Boss, is getting great coverage and in America the CBS version is equally popular. I liked the episode about the new CEO of Harry Ramsden’s fish and chips fast food outlets. We had a Harry Ramsden’s on the Dunmore Road a few years ago when the Celtic Tiger purred in the ‘burbs. The idea of directors getting down and dirty on the shop floor seems to appeal to viewers and Marija Simovic the new Australian boss of Ramsden’s did the business and discovered a great workforce who had seen premises neglected as the chain changed hands several times, in as many years.

Simovic asked too many direct questions but she rewarded the keen workers and promoted the best of those she met in a week undercover.

I liked the sequences filmed in their best restaurant at Blackpool and I remembered eating well there last year in the wettest of Julys. It was a pity to see how different managements just neglected to update the shops. Like the episode this week at recycling firm Viridor, employees had great practical solutions to management problems.


Following on from the successful choir programmes C4 have a new variation with Orchestra United where James Low of the Halle in Manchester wanted new blood in an orchestra where the audience’s age is seventy and over. He took on youths, young offenders, immigrants and people with little or no musical ability or instruments and he sets out to mould them into a functioning orchestra. We got the tears, tantrums, refusals as they took on a biggie – Sibelius’s Finlandia. Someone said it was like trying to turn a fart into sweetness.


BBC has plans to revive and remake All Creatures Great and Small, which originally ran from 1978 to 1990. But this time it won’t have a Yorkshire setting but a Glasgow one, where the real vet Alf Wight wrote under the pseudonym James Herriot. It will start out looking at the early years of the ambitious vet. Back in its heyday more than 13 million regularly watched the animal antics. Here’s hoping it goes well, because rumours are circulating that the recent BBC Sherlock had to scrap one episode as it was deemed unbroadcastable. Whatever can they mean, when it cost £800,000 to make than one episode.


A Spraoi weekend, the city alive and happy and taped and time-shifted BBC2 Proms, with an all-Sondheim prom to celebrate his 80th birthday. Wow, wee, high heaven, two hours of the musical theatre maestro. E-mails, texts, tweets and Facebookers reminding me as if I needs reminding. The Broadway survivor at his best with the best interpreters singing his work, Bryn Terfel, Maria Friedman, Simon Russell Beale (Jamie Beamish was in a show with him) Daniel Evans and Dame Judi Dench singing Send in the Clowns. So much to enjoy, so many memories, so much Sondheim and he is alive and sprightly and working still.

Irish Joke

Eamonn Holmes the SKY presenter seems to have lost his funny bone as he reported the BBC for a joke at his expense on the Jon Culshaw Impression Show and called in the lawyers. It was a running gag where he ate everything in sight – I was fierce hungry, I was – as a catchphrase. So, Eamonn got his apology and the Beeb dropped the fat idea from its future show. A UK critic suggested this should be called Bloatergate. Come on Eamonn, lighten up.