There was a happy buzz of freshness and optimism about the RTE1 programme, At Your Service and a delightful happy couple who run the Tramore, Beach Haven Lodgings, a nice mix of self-catering flats, guest rooms and cheap and cheerful hostel rooms. The two hosts or experts, Francis and John Brennan, have a lively knowledgeable style about them and it was almost exciting to see the plans take shape and the place transformed. The beach shots of Tramore were attractive and the lady of the house was so welcoming and unafraid to hug the expert. Tramore of the welcomes indeed.
RTE and Sideline Productions have brought back the wannabe teen show Class Act and it’s at the audition stage that this is written. It’s good stuff with an audience out there for it but why oh why have they taken such an old dear as vocal coach – Dr. Veronica Dunne for an entertainment show. She tries hard not to be patronising but why not have someone like Waterford’s Bryan Flynn or Bryan Merriman.
That said, Derek Mooney is a great happy presenter. So far he’s got a frisky Joe Dolan impersonator with lots of personality, some Cork rappers ad a crazy cartoonist. There will be three studio shows of six acts each with two acts going into a six act finale filmed at Tivoli Theatre, Dublin.
BBC1 have started the autumn schedule with a costume bodice ripper, Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. Poor peasant lass Tess is exploited by her family who expect her to pay the drunken dad’s debts and purchase a horse. The son of the big house has his cliched way with Tess and to pay for his pleasure, he buys presents for the family and a horse as well. Women have awful lives in these period pieces but the opening show got a seven million plus audience, as good as a soap on a poor night.
UTV have the variety bit firmly in hand for early Sunday night with tall lad about tv, Vernon Kaye, introducing a variety and entertaining bill but why oh why was Joan Rivers his co-host for the first of For One Night Only. She can’t remember the jokes or read the prompter. It’s a flash mix of West End show extracts, duff jokes, a comedian and some speciality work. Lots of old razzle dazzle, some revised Boyzone in polished form and those smooth Jersey Boys.
BBC3 have a new hit on their hands with massive, featuring Ralf Little from Two Pints Etc. and The Royal Family, as a daft guy who comes in to a small inheritance and tries to set up a record label with an equally dozy friend. Danny (Little) and Shay (Carl Rice) call the venture Shady Records (ShayD). Johnny Vegas pops up as Shay’s dad, the male half of a singing duo, and he is a howl, as much if not better than his Benidorm character. They sign an unlikely R&B duo cos the fat one sucks the tonsils for Danny. The other half of the duo is a skinny blonde who says repeatedly she is scratching for a pee. Nice indeed, but they have a great record, produced by Paul Kaye who used to be Dennis Pennis. Unlikely as it seems this is boss comedy as they said in trendyland. Massive.
The dapper duck, the little grey-coated man, with the little grey cells who shuffles along with his silver handled cane, is back on UTV. Poirot is back as he says, as the greatest detective ever and his first episode in the new series was too dull, too many characters, too long at two hours and oh too tedious, like his twisted and greased moustache. By the time he unravelled the case I had lost interest in his shuffling antics and pompous little gestures of gentility.
Perhaps there was too much talking heads and inserts from experts with degrees in RTE1’s Cromwell In Ireland. Presented by Micheal O Siochru from his book God’s Executioner, we got a warts and all story or docudrama of the terrible nine months of Cromwell’s colonisation of Ireland, that saw over 500,000 killed, shot, starved and mutilated. To Hell Or Connaught was the cry as Puritan Cromwell pillaged the towns of Drogheda, Waterford, Clonmel and Limerick opposed by the depleted Catholic forces of Hugh Dubh O’Neill. Owen Roe looked great in the few inserts of Cromwell in angry mood.
BBC SCOTLAND are thinking of promoting their own regional soap – River City, up into a full network showing in an attempt to plug part of the gap of losing viewers for EastEnders and the flop Aussie soap that they bought into to make up for losing Neighbours. Ach Aye the Noo!
TAKE ME OUT is the new C4 dating show or cattle market dating show where a series of single men will try to impress a group of 30 women. Each woman will have a light in front of her which she can switch off, if she doesn’t like what she sees. After some video antics, they can still have a choice and then the man asks three of the remaining women out and you get the date reactions on the couch like, the old Cilla Black format. Don’t expect wedding bells or talk of buying the hat.