Imagine there was a time I thought John Lennon was the sun, moon and stars of music, freedom and doing your own thing. So it was a shock to the system, a slap in the face of nostalgia to watch the scaring and painful BBC 4 programme about fatherhood, Lennon Naked. I love his wit, his smart-assed quips and his book ‘A Spaniard In The Works’, but even though I suspected his feet of clay, his mind blown away on drugs and dreams and disappointment, this portrayal by Christopher Eccleston was powerful – this wasn’t acting, this was becoming Lennon and the scenes with his n’er-do-well father cut me to the poem.
Lennon ranted about his mother abandoning him to an aunt, and a father going away to sea and starting another family. The father and son scenes are difficult to watch but I was shocked when he walked away from his own son, Julian. Like father, like son. Lennon didn’t seem to get out from under his childhood hurts in a mixture of showman and cripple inside.
You know, I like Miriam O’Callaghan on Prime Time – she is clever, persistent and gets to the point, but why, oh why does she almost simper with lip gloss for the Late Late Lite, in all but name. Saturday Night With Miriam is poor Tubridy, low on quality guests, even if the two (once co-joined) twins of Angie and Azzedine Benhaffet was a touching tear-jerking moment or ten. This was feel good TV, but not another dose of Brendan O’Carroll in summer shorts doing the talkathon for himself. This wasn’t an interview, it was stand-up O’Carroll doing a plug for another show or series coming up next year. Paul Williams and grieving father, Steve Collins had little new to tell us and the GAA Wags failed to deliver because the wives and partners played the game in nice clothes and not a lot to say, as if they were good little, keep your thoughts to yourselves wives. But it was clever and slightly original. But come on Miriam. Come on RTE, change the format.
So the Hanks Spielberg mini-series, The Pacific, ended, and finally we got to identify with the top three or so characters in one of the most horrific anti-war series ever shown. The last programme tied-up any loose ends and you saw the awkwardness of returning home to families who just didn’t understand why terrible dehumanising things had happened in the name of democracy, America and freedom. To the victor the spoils, it is said, but these Marines are sad and advised to take each day as it comes, and eventually you will forget the war.
Snafu sneaks off the homecoming train and doesn’t say goodbye, and in the final credits we were told he couldn’t speak to his fellow marines for a further thirty-five years. Sledge tells a guy at the recruitment fair “the Marines taught me how to kill Japs, and I got pretty damn good at it”.
What I will remember is the noise of the battle scenes, the darkness, the flashes of light, the cruelty, the meaninglessness and the numbing repetition of it all for over five episodes.
BBC3 took advantage of the World Cup to release out a dirty little cartoon comedy in a Podge and Rodge style. Mongrels is a puppet sitcom with low morals, in so far as animals have moral values. You get a rural fox looking for an urban good time including a sexy hound that he falls in quirky love with, there’s a top cat street cat and a sarcastic pigeon from Blackburn. There are six more episodes to come and it is funny, messy, irreverent and a howl. But not for kids.
A different animal entirely was the C4 show ‘Tiger Woods: The Rise and Fall’, with its sensational but bleak story of the Tiger Woods affairs. His father came across as a person focused only on ‘brand Tiger’, a project not a son. Tiger had a single minded robotic quality to him and his treatment of women as sex objects. His agents and sports management people seemed so uncaring as full of damage limitation, but it took the perfumes of Gucci to sweeten the bra and panties story of the lap dancer who had a three year affair with the golfer, and now that he has been outed and the cash for kiss and tell given, she will never be exploited by men again. Who knows what other stories had to remain untold.