Some of the recent documentary programmes going out on TG4 are a result of a very local success story between Nemeton Television Productions in An Rinn and a WIT run course. Last Sunday Tragoid 607E caught the pain and tragedy of a Royal Dutch Airlines flight KLM 607E that got into problems, 150 miles west of Galway and plunged instantly into the sea. Using a mixture of live face to camera and some excellent archival footage, the director, Geraldine Heffernan, achieved a good visual narrative and a very poignant set of images.
Interviews from the present day caught the raw emotion of 1958, especially a then teenage Knights Of Malta volunteer, who still cried as he described the terrible remains – body parts in fishing baskets, a year old baby named Bernadette. A then student nurse spoke about it as if it was only yesterday and you could see the tragedy in her eyes. The archival material of the cortege of hearses and Army Lorries bringing 22 coffins to a large grave, with the baby in a separate one nearby. Contemporary footage of these graves brought home the awfulness of the tragedy. Fiona Fahey produced, research was by Paula Ui Uallachain and Julia Flavin edited.
But it was the sensitive skill of Geraldine Heffernan that impressed as she caught the rawness, the tragedy and the horror, in many well chosen crafted images.
The bed of heaven, to the master of masterchefs, Keith Floyd, who passed away in poor circumstances recently. BBC2 did a set of tributes to him and there was the old food-meister, vino in hand and a pan or a pot in the other. He made it look easy peasy, you’d almost believe he never rehearsed, but he loved the camera and the camera loved him in return. Even programmes aired over twenty years ago, had that immediacy and dash of vigour. Cooking as fun and food to be enjoyed. As a businessman he was a failure, because he was careless with money and was too generous to his customers. He was his own bar’s best customer and he could do outrageous things like cook puffins and bring the wrath of the Norwegian government down on him. But he blundered on until tv outgrew him and his imitators took the prime slots and were sober, careful and politically and socially correct. Hope your glass is full, Keith. Thanks for the memories.
It must be a combination of the quality of the script and the characterisations but the return of The Clinic to RTE1 seems just right. It all feels just right, with Dan up to no good and just the right mix of tension about what can and no doubt will go wrong over the next month or two of Sundays. The cast feel right and there is tight acting and editing. Nice to see Carrie Crowley make an appearance in a caring charity story that is not for the squeamish.
TG4 have a Sunday night dance competition, An Jig Gig, with some fine routines and some fine judges. The mix of young, older and experienced isn’t great and it’s hard to see the quarter final choices panning out as there is a suggestion of a mixed regional bag. Rumour has it that a local dance team made it to the filmed stages, so we will have to watch it more closely.
Ros Na Sun is back as doctors hope for a bone marrow transplant to save the life or future of Frances and Tadhg’s new baby. Question is, will Jason volunteer his marrow or will he sell it to Tadhg in some revenge deal? More possible babies lurk in the script as love rat Mack betrays Adelaide with a trip under the blankets with Rosie. He jilts Adelaide, who now thinks she is pregnant. What next; the boy priest gets a fellow student pregnant?
There is a racy Irish theme to much of the programmes that caught my interest last week and again TG4 came up trumps with a racy and racing comedy drama – Rasai Na Gallaimhe, with dodgy politicians, dead bodies, dodgy jockeys, randy women, a shovel, lots of shots of punters at Galway races and a cracking yarn about dodgy gangsters with Owen Roe in great form indeed. All it lacked was Hector, but he could make a brief appearance yet. Yerra boy. The writer is James Phelan, originally from Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford