Valerie Maguire

Featured on the last episode of the excellent RTE1 series Rescue 117 was horse-woman Valerie Maguire, daughter of the popular taxi-driver Jimmy Maguire. Valerie had a bad fall from her horse in an inaccessible place and had to be rescued by helicopter. Once again, the cool clean hero Peter McKenzie Brown was in charge and the operation was as smooth as the proverbial.

This was a quality series and well done to RTE Cork for it.

David Tennant

To watch the children and David Tennant in the BBC1 drama series Single Father is to experience a complete range of emotions. Tenant is amazing and his face expresses so much. It is a very modern story about a man whose partner dies in an accident and leaves three kids with their biological father, plus a daughter who wants to live with her unknown real father. Tenant has a daughter with her own child and he is lost and bewildered trying to be father, mother and comforter to his family.

Suranne Jones, ex-Corrie, is excellent as a consoling teacher and they kiss and comfort each other yet are embarrassed by their emotions. There is no apple pie stuff here and there is a self-harming attention seeking son who takes a hammer to his leg. Add to that a confused and controlling married sister who cannot have children and you get top class drama that should leave Downton Abbey in the shade, but it doesn’t.

Day Broken

Spare a thought for Gráinne Seoighe as she starts out with the new ITV Daybreak. Despite the headliners of Adrian Chiles etc, it is losing viewers far too quickly. Less than 800,000 are watching this version and poor old Gráinne could be on the way out, again


All of a twinkling lesbians are fashionable and fanciable on TV. Eastenders has its lesbian couple and Corrie has the two nice lipstick types as the parents struggle to come to terms with it. But over on BBC3 its full on contemporary lesbians at it like knives and fun-loving ladies. Lip Service, what a clever title, is much like the male gay show Queer as Folk with more confusion, mixed messages but lots of girl on girl action in the worst of best possible taste. Even the word “taste” takes on a new meaning as these Glasgow gals get it on.

Moon Walkers

Mark Gatiss, the horror series man, pops up again on BBC4 with a first rate version of HGWells early sci-fi novel The First Men on The Moon. It was wonderfully quaint and has the added touch of linking the book to the 1969 moon landings on Apollo as an old man runs a film about his trip to the moon with a zany Professor Cavor, played by Gatiss. Wells would have liked this production dedicated to the late and great Lionel Jeffries. The monsters encountered are fun and very Doctor Who-ish and the space ship is like an Edwardian garden shed. Putting a man on the moon was crazier back in Wells’ time when he wrote War of the Worlds. BBC4 are also showing a fine programme about the life and loves of HGWells.

Country Life

If you thought that Downton Abbey is tweed and twill codgers marrying posh girls to save family estates and that it was ancient history, you were in for a shock with BBC2’s Wonderland: High Society Brides. It still goes on, the hunting and hacking set still have homes and family traditions to save, so the families chase girls in pearls as photographed in Country Life. This documentary looked at five girls/women who took this route and for some it was a disaster and a disaster for the family.

Marchionesses married off their blood stock – their sons and daughters and they sat at great long tables and talked about shooting, fishing, hunting and duty. Henrietta said a girl had to be a support to her husband and to breed, supplying sons to keep the bloodline going and the country pile in family hands.

So it is still Downton Abbey where every girl wants to marry a lovely man unlike Kate who married a business man and had to buy him out of the big house, divorce him and then leave the house- the third largest house in England, to a male family relative.

Rain Technology

I haven’t seen any 3D TV yet but the technical side of covering the recent Ryder Cup turned out to be one of the largest sports outside broadcasts ever.

Planning started back in 2008 after Kentucky, and the Welsh Celtic Manor was purpose built to facilitate such a competition.

In a typical golf event about 15-20 cameras are used but for Celtic Manor 50 were set up initially plus a camera in the sky on a tethered blimp. NBC brought additional cameras and Sky 3D brought their own special cameras making it 100 cameras covering 200 acres.

There was an 18,000 square metre TV compound, 900 production staff and 50 broadcasters. 30 broadcast trucks supplied 200 countries and more than a half billion homes around the world.

The biggest challenge turned out to be keeping the equipment dry from the torrential rain.

On site were 450 plasma screens, 90 kilometres of TV fibre cable, 25 km of audio cable and 12 jumbotron HD screens.