Loads of congratulations to young Katie Honan who made the last twenty out of thousands of contestants for the new BBC1 Lord Webber showcase, Over The Rainbow. What an achievement for a rising star, whom just a few years ago was a shining light in school shows, then she was awarded the Panto ’84 Bursary as part of the Ted and Mary O’Regan Awards. The late Anna Manahan presented Katie with her award on that occasion.
Katie comes from the legendary Honan family – dad T.V. and mother Liz and that quality always rises to the top. I saw her last year in the Irish premier of Jane Eyre in Navan and she was luminous as the governess.
It was amazing to see Katie over two primetime nights on BBC1 as she was advised by Lord Webber himself, Sheila Hancock and the sparkling Sheridan Smith, star of the hit musical Legally Blonde. Let’s hear it for Katie.
Gay Byrne made a harrowing return to the T.V. on TV3 with a two-part look at the aftermath of accidents with Impact – Tragedy on Irish Roads. It was a timely and stark reminder of at least four deaths a week on Irish roads. Some of the family’s stories were hard to watch, especially the heart-breaking tale of a mother who lost two sons in the one crash and she cursed the Sacred Heart in her despair.
Apparently over 80% of drivers admit to breaking speed limits at some time or another in their lives and that was the most chilling fact of the many facts that Gay Byrne reeled off. I don’t envy him giving up part of his retirement to head up a Road Safety Campaign, especially when this programme was so harrowing and deeply moving.
Once again RTE2 have snapped up a new U.S. show that has great potential, Cougar Town, featuring Friends star Courtney Cox as divorced mother Jules Kiki Cob, who is exploring and hating yet loving the dating again experience with frantic results.
She gets up at six to put make up on to get back in bed with her date to wake up at seven, looking fabulous. Crazy or real? It has a strong support cast of almost stereotypical neighbours in small town suburbia. The wry sporty guy, the bald guy etc. It also has two excellent support females Christa Millar, playing next door neighbour Elle Torres, a gossipy jealous mum and Busy Phillips who plays Laurie, a young employee with Jules in a real estate business selling houses, is the connection to beddable, clubbable, weddable men. It is funny and quirky but where is it going? Could it be Desperate Housewives Lite?
TG4 have a programme Siol (seeds) presenting new work in a short half-hour format. First up was Cinneadh (tribe/race) about a teenage girl and her friend going to London from Galway for a termination. This was urgent, pacy and very very sad but it immediately hit home in a way you didn’t need a good grasp of Irish to understand panic, desperation, loneliness and confusion. It offered no answers, no easy solutions, but it hit home like new work should. Good on ye TG4.
They may be turning Coronation Street into a play in Manchester but the BBC is planning to modernise Sherlock Holmes into 21st Century London. Mark Gatiss of The League of Gentlemen and Doctor Who writer Stephen Moffat have written the script for a series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson. The good doctor will be returning from battling against the Taliban. Rupert Graves will play Inspector Lestrade. This has a Spooks feeling to it and already BBC have sold the idea to US and Australia.
Arts Lives is an excellent documentary series on RTE1 and the first up in the run was the Dublin-born John Connolly whose books are mostly set in Portland Maine and his cop is called Charlie Parker.
Connolly used to work as a crime and general reporter for the Irish Times and he seemed irked that he was not considered by the likes of Colm Toibín as an Irish writer because he wrote about America. The programme was well drawn, about growing up in Rialto and later at Trinity College. He spends his time between Maine and Dublin and the cold snowy atmosphere of Maine was well caught in the film. His work is dark, disturbing and in the dark streets genre of Chandler and reading his work, there is no sense of Irishness.
His book, The Book of Lost things set in London and parts of England was famously rejected by the Richard and Judy Book Club as being about bestiality and too shocking.