Yes Waterford, rejoice, Gilbert O’Sullivan told Ryan Tubridy that he would return to play possibly a big charity gig in his home town. Thanks to the persistence of Hilary Quinlan, a former Mayor, Gilbert will return to entertain sooner rather than later. His regret and annoyance at playing to a half empty house in Waterford seems to have worn off or else he has mellowed or wishes to put to rest stories of his avoidance of Waterford. Waterford should be proud of him and should tell him that, loud and clear.
UTV has launched another couples show, that some promotional material suggests will be as big if not better than Cold Feet. Well, not on the first episode anyway. Married Single Other has a top class cast of familiar faces, if not familiar names and it is clever but not quirky enough and doesn’t have class or age differences, so the jokes are going to come from the one genre. Eddie wants to marry his feisty Lillie, she a social worker, he a paramedic and their kids are divided as to whether it is cool or not. There’s Clint the Jack-the-lad who seems to meet his match in a model in leathers, Abbey. Not a lot of possibilities there even if Ralf Little is the predator. Then there’s the reckless, lazy, feckless, bike-loving Dickie and his almost cliché-wife Babs, played by Amanda Babington.
The ending of episode one was too cutsie by a mile and you wonder where this is going, much like Mistresses on BBC.
So, they tucked it away on BBC4, but On Expenses, was a brilliant comedy docudrama about the political intrigue used by the Speaker of the House of Commons to try to prevent an American journalist pry into M.P.’s expenses. This scandal rocked Britain and brought about the retirement or resignation of that speaker and a major reform in the way politician’s expenses are vouched and approved.
Irish viewers got a little touch of the Irish version of this on the news the same night as details of the FÁS expenditure on a Robbie Williams concert in Croke Park came to light. Might and presumed rights and privileges are being questioned across the board and whether people like it or not, transparency will have to occur despite the vain attempts to slow down such progress.
The programme made on a low budget caught the pomp and ceremony of parliament and the dodgy dealings of elected representatives, with verve, wit and humour.
Glenn Close is back as feisty, dodgy lawyer Patty Hewes in a new series of Damages. This time she is taking on a bankrupt figure like a Bernard Madoff, a financier who has ripped off people to the tune of billions. She has to find if the culprit has money stashed away somewhere and how does she get at it. The opening credits were full of mayhem and murder and lots of blood and suicide, some from two previous series and some from this one. It also tantalisingly jumps forward six months to show something that whets your appetite to keep watching. Her young nemesis or rival Ellen seems to be working for an FBI agency but you would have to wonder how soon will their paths cross and cross they will. Close brings chiller thriller moods to this new series and you know that it will be fascinating viewing unlike Desperate Housewives, which seems to have lost the spark, not to mention the funny quirky plot.
There I was, channel hopping on RTE1 before the news and I came across a children’s cartoon with a few Irish actors such as Simon Delaney and Cathy Belton as parents of cut-out schoolboy Roy O’Brien and his antics trying to settle into primary school. A great mix of animation and real life especially as Roy is nearly sucked into a vacuum cleaner. It was made initially for the BBC and is very well done and very imaginative – a real treat.
It is indeed, a funny old world where people claim compensation for the most ordinary of things.C4 had a result with Scams, Claims and Compensation Games where a man cut himself shaving and sued the razor manufacturer for £6,000. Fascinating stuff as they looked at a Liverpool solicitor who represents people on a no foal no fee basis. It costs the British taxpayer millions in settlements from people who sue for accidents from falling branches from trees which they choose to sit under. British local authorities, now employ an ex-policeman to inspect such claims and he said that – trees are unpredictable, like that.
UTV have a dining hit on their hands with a new programme Michael Winner’s Dining Stars, where the dreaded food critic visits ordinary people’s homes to sample their cooking and deliver his famous scathing hurtful criticism. He revels in savaging well-known eating places and this programme sets out to develop the nasty side of criticism and rejection. Winner knows what is expected of him and he does curmudgeon to the bitter born.
Arriving by helicopter and Rolls Royce he waddles along, snapping out instructions to his minions and then when he delivered his criticism he was blunt. Yet he did what was expected, while at the same time giving a single for a family experience of love and survival as one lady cook had two children with serious birth and health problems. He actually shed a tear. Would Simon Cowell do the same?