Congratulations to Angela Mulcahy who directed the TG4 First Chance production of The Fit Ups. Angela, from Kill, was a graduate of the Nemeton/WIT course in Film Production and her choice of subject was inspirational. The Fit Ups, or travelling shows, are a wonderful slice of entertainment and drama and back in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s these shows criss-crossed Ireland.
Using a lot of rare stills footage and a wonderful interview with the late Anna Manahan, part of that story was rekindled, especially the male impersonator Vic Loving’s show, Flash parade, from the 20s. Her granddaughter, Vikki Jackson, told of the chorus line of scantily clad dancers whom clergy castigated as the Flesh Parade.
Angela Mulcahy re-created a touch of the fit-ups at The Gealach Gorm, a little theatre in Kill, Co. Waterford, giving the show a great boost.
It’s the passive way that Paddy O’Gorman has, in his new TV series, that harks back to his radio days. The way he gets people to talk about their lives so easily. And it is the passive way that these people tell such sad stories of an Ireland that has left them down. They matter-of-factly talk about poverty, dole queues and there is little or no anger about greed, banks or speculators going to a High Court, so they don’t have to pay back their enormous debts. Some gave that sad impression that that is the way of the world and we might get by.
Straight out, he asked a Nigerian girl if she felt a mood against her and she agreed so matter-of-factly. Once again it is compulsive viewing as part of the analysis of how or why this country got into this mess in the first place. The Greens are having a conference to wrestle with their in-Government conscience and O’Gorman gets people to tell it like it is. Amazing.
Watching Ron Atkinson and Tessa Sanderson on Celebrity Wife Swap, it was sad that his TV career ended because of a racist remark muttered when he thought he was off-air. I’m not trying to excuse the remark but sometimes comments get blown out of proportion. No doubt Big Ron took the opportunity to use the Wife Swap programme as a chance to re-instate him with a public who mostly have forgotten him. Fame is such a short brief excitement and people must show respect and where possible do good deeds, not just in atonement but because there is now more than ever a need to do good and be seen to do good.
Yeah, the silly season is upon us, with UTV showing a two-parter, The Duchess On The Estate. Imagine the security costs of taking Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, onto a tough Manchester housing estate. What plonkers, as she lamented that young people go out with mobile phones and knives and she has noticed much more bad language. Well, Holy Highnesses! Her solution to target disadvantaged youth was (a) tell them they have a voice, (b) talk to them about their future and (c) build them a youth centre. Oh and she wanted flowers to brighten up the place. She played pool, went to a chipper and drank some cider. Then she showed her royal pedigree as she intoned – I must remain steadfast to my dreams of getting Britain back on track. Riveting guff.
C4 have a series running on Thursday nights, Benefit Busters, about the attempts of the British Welfare System to reduce the number of people on benefits and reward firms who are willing to take them on. Episode one, looked at an agency A4E, that specialises outside of job centres in coaxing and possibly forcing claimants into work. The show looked at a similar course run for single mothers in Doncaster and for a while it looked like unwilling participants were being bullied into divulging unhappy facts in a questionnaire that probed any guilt they might feel and their attitude to a soft life, is there is one, on the social.
The tutor seemed loud, pushy and brassy but gradually she formed a bond with the remaining participants and got some into pound-shop type jobs. At times her routine seemed slick and heartless as A4E seem to get more pay for results.
One woman had £75,000 in debts and would not cut off her internet broadband service and premium television service. I couldn’t see how the kind of work on offer could ever reduce such a mountain of debt and the programme seemed to waffle about it.