Watch out for a new six-part RTE slice of life programme, Rescue 117. Filmed at Waterford Helicopter base at Waterford Airport it is a fine mix of good news and some bad.
I saw a preview episode shown in the Mayor’s Office recently and it was gripping stuff and I feel that viewers will get involved in the lives of the rescue team especially the cool clean hero of Captain McKenzie Brown as he issues calm instructions and pilots the helicopter with precision and dedication.
The first episode goes out at 8.30pm on September 14th. Over the series there will be 18 different rescues and medical evacuations.
TV3 have stolen a march or an August, I suppose on Sky1 be getting to screen the new American family comedy – Middle. No doubt modelled on the very successful Malcolm in the Middle, this new but old-fashioned sitcom has a ditsy but well-meaning and put-upon mum and a check shirted Dad who wants his youngest son to excel at Spelling Bee contests.
The son has a head and face only a nerd could love and he is so cool he couldn’t care less. He has a bored older brother and a geeky older sister who has braces on her teeth. I am not quite sure who is going to be the hero in this series but it looks like them mum is the more rounded character. This sitcom family actually sits down to watch TV. This could be a golden goose or a clucking turkey but the smart money is on a worldwide hit.
So, BBC1 said goodbye to The Very Last of the Summer Wine and it was not like a goodbye at all. I meandered along as people prepared to get on a bus to a wedding and most of the characters still living were fitted into a clever script. There were the usual frightened hen-pecked hen and embittered women and it is amazing how this show ran since 1973 and I have to admit I loved it a lot as did my late mother and she behaved as if the characters were friends of hers.
In typical fashion there was no tying off of loose ends. A smoke-belching bus arrived with a driver whose cap was too big for his head. The wedding was called off and they got on the bus anyway and it set off into the Yorkshire Dales. The theme music played and it was gone but for happy memories and years and years of re-runs.
Television is often a contrast of mixed emotions and this was all the more obvious last week during the UK Bank Holiday Monday ITV had Julia McKenzie almost sleepwalking through Marple with a story so slow and complicated with a huge cast list of well-known faces if not easily remembered names. It was slow motion hokum about witchcraft as a cover for murder and a possibly to modern aspect of house to house surveys.
Nicholas Parsons was the parson who got the chop just after the credits in a Jack the ripper fog. Somewhere along the way there was a gambling scam where a dodgy solicitor took bets on whether people would live or die. He wasn’t the baddie, neither was the lady who conjured the devil in a ritual while banging a drum. Neither was the guy from the Young Ones with a scar the killer either.
Meanwhile over on C4, I Am Slave was a slower if that was possible but low key telling in a matter of horrible fact way about a young girl captured in Sudan and dressed up posh as a servant in Khartoum and later in London. The baddies were cold cruel people but there was a distance at all time, as if it was perfectly normal. The sting in the tale was the closing information that there are at least 5,000 similar domestic slaves in London today. With at least 20,000 enslaved in Sudan.
All hail Louis Walsh the manager of Westlife and wannabe teen successes Jedward.
He has got them a teen series on TV3 and it’s a scream as the twins move into a penthouse in Dublin and no doubt, staged for the cameras. The flooding of a bathroom and their surprise to open a fridge and find there was no food in it was a mammy-cringe moment. Ah the poor little rich kids out on their own plus manager, assistants, hair stylists and camera crew. Way to go pipsqueaks.
So, another TV favourite, The Bill extinguishes its flashing blue light for the last time. In fact, you would have to wonder what is going to replace the number of old favourites that are being axed, possibly to save money rather than a modernisation of the product. Because like it or not ITV will have to find at least two other cop shows.
And to run grit into the sore they showed a late night tribute going back to 1983. As I remember it The Bill replaced The Sweeney and it was going to have chases on foot by caring coppers not licensed thugs in muscle cars.
Where did it all go wrong? Who axed The Bill and should someone read him his rights?
The X-Factor tops the ratings with nearly 11 million viewers and a Tesco check-out lady singer setting the early pace. Let’s hope she won’t be singing Aisle Be Seeing You In All The Old Familiar Places. Nearest rival was Eastenders with 8 million. 225 is the average number of minutes of TV watched by UK viewers daily. Before tea, about 45 % of UK people listen to radio but by 9pm, 52% have switched to television. 6% of all TV viewing is time-shifted or recorded due no doubt to popular clashes and surprisingly 17% admit to using mobile phones or laptops while watching TV.