I feel like a little boy running around telling everybody that Evelyn Cusack said – fuck – on the telly. But that’s what RTE1 does to you with that contrived bit of nonsense that is Failte Towers. Have never seen or heard of some of the so-called stars and celebrities – too much time given to raising up the mood of the crowd for cheap tv shots, not enough technical support, not enough cameras to tape stuff so that things are more set up than say on Big Brother. The two presenters act like looders as on Kilnaskully. But the worst thing of all is the constant references to charity. Sure it’s only doing it for charity and they’re only doing it for charity. Come off it RTE, you get our licence money – stop playing the charity card as an excuse for bad television.
UTV brought Marple back on a Sunday night into a slot that lacks a consistent resident and it shows. The recent Frost repeats are better than this. Geraldine McEwan is not a success as the gentle crime-solver who either knits, or sketches as a posh tale of murder and skulduggery enfolds like tar or toffee. A cast of well-known faces, if not names, cannot hide how boring this series is as the lead name character needs to be central to the action to give it any immediacy or even fun. Tom Baker did a delicious cameo as a drunken legal eagle but he passed on too quickly and when his twinkling eyes and fruity voice faded it was dullsville at Lady Snoozeworthys.
BBC celebrated forty users, later the 1968 hit Dad’s Army with Jonathan Ross Salutes Dad’s Army – a bit too much tongue in cheek. Most of the happy codgers were sadly dead but old hands like little Ronnie Corbett were trotted out to deliver a few well scripted lines about how much he loved the old geezers and he an old geezer himself. The two writers David Croft and Jimmy Perry were just about alive to contribute and must have been proud that this show is still winning new audiences with endless repeats.
Not to be outdone C4 ran a programme more tongue-in-cheek than factual documentary about the UK Women’s Institute’s attempt to get the government to legalise prostitution. The word “prostitution” wasn’t mentioned much, mostly “working girls” and at times these well-meaning do-gooders found the whole thing distasteful. Cleanliness was a big issue with these leafy suburbanites who didn’t recognise vibrators or rampant rabbits. That a sink would be a specific height to enable men to have their dangly bits washed took up a lot of tv time. And a daft idea to promote their project required a lady to sit in a patio and offer those Mister Kipling cakes with the cherry on top to people. It seemed light years away from prostitution or even bonking.
Sometimes, the hype and promotion for new shows and programmes tells more than a white lie and the hypers of Little White Lie on RTE1 must have black tongues. It was a boring variation on the boy meets girl story that seems to have started out as a movie but then became a tv movie. The hype also raved about the girl, actress Elaine Cassidy, who on this showing is just another wannabe who was in a flop Irish movie, Felicia’s Journey with Bob Hoskins. I actually remember them doing auditions for this movie in Waterford. The only bit of fun about this programme was a tightly edited sequence about climbing up a high-rise crane.