Full marks to RTE 1 for their fascinating four part series last week, Seahorsemen, about Marine Biologist Kgalan Doyle and his U.C.G. friend Ken Maher who set out to save a species and breed seahorses. The particular beauty of these creatures with the head of a horse, the pouch of a kangaroo and a monkey like tail as well as the ability to change colour like a chameleon.
Doyle runs the Seahorse Aquarium near the Red Cow Hotel and at one time both friends were feted and lauded by innovation awards and entrepreneurs as being the next Irish millionaires such were the prospects of their hopes and abilities.
Nothing ran smoothly and investors took over too much and the huge profits were only on paper as these creatures had all sorts of contamination problems.
I love the warts and all style where Doyle at one stage couldn’t afford a Christmas dinner, not to mention presents and then he fell ill in Mali and was nearly pronounced dead.
He recovered a more balanced realist after it all.
Love it or resent it, but for a while the World Cup dominated the TV charts with over 12 million British viewers watching England vs Germany. During this period Eastenders dropped to 6.7 million just pipping Corrie at 6.4 million. 5 million watched USA vs Ghana, a stat that bewildered the UK experts.
BBC sports coverage did better than ITV. AT one point during the England vs. Germany at least 19 million watched a portion of the game (amazing how these facts are gathered from set top boxes digitally) while ITV Sport or soaps were struggling at below 5.6 million. Adrian Chiles better have a cast-iron contract from ITV Sport as his move from BBC may have made him richer but didn’t do the numbers for ITV.
ITV have a fondness for formulaic cop shows with just a twist to modernise or update a basic chase and tell plot. Identity comes out of the file with Keeley Hawes from Ashes To Ashes as a DSI Martha Lawson who runs a special unit working on cases of identity theft and she partners an off-the-wall ex-undercover cop DI Bloom who has first-hand experience of the psychological side of pretending to be someone else. (I thought that is what actors actually do) Aiden Gillen of The Wire fame is Bloom and he is angry, nasty in leather jacket who believes the end justifies the means as he bends the law and the plot to achieve results. (Robson Green again?), otherwise this is just exposition, investigation, leaps of fantasy s in Wire In The Blood and it also has Holly Aird as the IT expert (wasn’t she in a similar role in Waxing The Dead?). Then again, one of this series writers, Edward Bennett was on the Waxing script team also. There is also a sub-plot of Bloom had an ex-girlfriend who just happens to be the sister of a Turkish drug dealer. As long as the formula works, such shows will have a limited run and the technical side is first class with snappy editing in car chases and Gillen running about like a demented Tom Cruise.
Pete And Dud
Sadly, the title said it all, Pete And Dud and this BBC2 tribute to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore with The Lost Sketches, as if they were actually lost rather than being discarded as Duds. Even a top class cast of comedians couldn’t revive the awfulness of these flat, out-dated radio sketches. Jonathan Ross and Al McGowan couldn’t put like into a dead parrot. To make matters worse they showed rehearsals and audience reaction stuff from fans who could see no wrong. There was no sense of the edgy magic of Pete And Dud.
It was tears and tantrums and bitching last week at TV3 wannabe show Style Wars got into its stride and the judges stopped being nice and told some home truths. Caprice has taken on the Simon Cowell role as she deflates these young fashion designers. From movies like Prêt-A-Porter it seems this is a cruel business and these types of shows thrive on tears and reactions to rejection. While I know little about it, it was obvious that the rejected competitor wasn’t coping with a design task but I didn’t expect the way she burst into tears and wept openly and bitterly. You must question why the programme makers didn’t edit this scene more but it is that crash-test aspect that seemingly brings in the viewers. However, after the show, designer and judge Peter O’Brien walked off the show likening it to a witch hunt and questioned why somebody crying on TV is good for ratings. So, even the judges are soft, sometimes. O’Brien later reconsidered his position and is expected to return to the task for next week.
BBC1 and others have a preference now for developing a mystery type story usually a cops and killers story over a week or four nights and The Silence was a variation on this when a young angry confused girl with a hearing problem who dislikes a cochlear implant and rather lip read. She is related to a workaholic copper on the road to burn out or promotion and she sees a murder that develops very slowly into a drugs and corrupt coppers story. Very slow and the focus and sympathy for the silent world of the girl fades over the four nights as the over-zealous copper breaks the rules to use the girl’s lip-reading skills to gather evidence. Add to this a too young Dervla Kirwan as an irritating wife and Gina McKee as an over-protective parent. Genevieve Barr plays the girl with anxious and far too annoying mannerisms and by night three I had lost sympathy with girl, copper and the storyline.