For a moment, watching Lemass – The Man Who Made Ireland, RTE1, I thought . . . that’s where we got the letter closer . . . Is Mise Le Meas. Ah go on outa dat. But it is no wonder we are banjaxed if the Taoiseach of fifty years ago is in some way responsible for the mess we are now in. Some were upset because the programme said he was an IRA gunman but is it any worse than calling Bertie a chancer or Cowan a friend of bankers and builders? What was scary was these guys in weird moustaches seemed to make up policy as they went along. Others have an airline so let us have one too. The wheel has turned and we are back at the crossroads where our then Taoiseach puffed his pipe and off he went. Anything others have, we must have. No wonder it’s payback time.
Now that Heartbeat is gone for its summer holidays, it’s the turn of sort-of-spin-off, The Royal, to keep the Sunday spirit cool, with an old fashioned story of doctors, nurses and codgers, with a little bit of fun stirred in for variety. Unfortunately it seems like the same old story and the opening episode seemed as if I had seen it before. It is also so formulaic, with the odd butcher’s boy from Corrie doing his depressing whine as a would-be priest who hasn’t the guts to disappoint his mother, who is fattening him up for a bishopric or such. Old Sinbad is gone for good and a new chubby Browncoat has replaced him to carry out old dodges and scams. Even the old matron, so well played by Wendy Craig, does a dying swan in blood imitation but rallies at death’s door. Ah shucks.
RTE1 have opened a big name cast gangland show, Father And Son, over four episodes, about the famous Connor family who terrorise in Ireland and Manchester and it’s full of twists and fast pacy action. A teen-gang chase on bicycles in a crowded hospital cranks up the tension, but an over-symbolic piano and bass string riff pounds out heavy emotional meanings for a pretty ordinary urban brutalisation of kill or be killed. Or, as they say, cap or be capped. The Wire it ain’t but it has possibilities despite a grafted on paramilitary sub-plot or decommissioned guns and violence.
Now that it’s holiday time and occasional showers, it was time to time-shift or record the mid-morning talk shows. TV3’s Midday was a definite disappointment over three days with unidentifiable guests who have little of interest to say except for worthy statements about world poverty or big issues. It was easier to catch bits of UTV’s Loose Women, who are fun and candid about issues like pensions without being cliched or worthy. These women are interesting have lots to say and entertain while doing it. RTE has Telly Bingo, teen soaps and reheats.
Not for the squeamish or faint of heart, but C4s new series, Inside Nature’s Giants, is a fascinating view of large animal dissections. In the opening programme, an elephant was chopped up to explore the cause of death and how it keeps cool in high temperatures and how its legs carry such massive body weight. The technology is great, the graphics excellent and it is very free of veterinary jargon. In fact there is more jargon in House or those medical soaps on BBC. Only odd part of the series is including Richard Dawkins – the anti-God philosopher and pundit who does little chats about animal behaviour.
Looks like the BBC don’t know what to do with Graham Norton. They pay him big bucks and only used him on audience certs like on wannabe shows like How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and Strictly Come Dancing Fever and then as the new Terry Wogan on the Eurovision. His most recent outing on Totally Saturday is not a rating smash, dropping from under 5 million to 3 million viewers. Graham has been with BBC since 2004, when they lured him away from C4. Why they persist with a risque guy whose style is late night innuendo as a family prime-time host, puzzles me but now they have decided to tweak the format of the show. So what does the BBC see in So So Graham Norton?
You have to hand it to the tourism people in Queensland, Australia, for coming up with a plan to get worldwide coverage for their Great Barrier Reef tourism by launching The Best Job In The World, now a BBC1 programme, where they get eager wannabes to get radio, media and tv coverage for a competition to be a caretaker of an island for six months. Four Brits made it to the last fifty and a more mature wannabe won out in the end for a classic con job of promoting a place on the cheap for £70,000, the salary they offered, for a job that wasn’t a job really, just a very clever marketing ploy. Young people rushed to enter, creating worldwide publicity among self-obsessed people who believe they will succeed in such schemes as Big Brother or whatever. But Queensland got the publicity and increased tourism.