Spare a thought for Susan Boyle, who was pipped by the voting public for the top spot in Britain’s Got Talent. When she recovers from the instant pressure of the hype and 60 million plus hits on YouTube, she could earn millions and will, no doubt. The Stage said she would make a fantastic Madame Thenardier in Les Mis and Cameron Mackintosh said – she’d be absolutely brilliant as the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins, now on Broadway with Nancy star from the TV wannabe series, Scarlet Strallen, now playing the named lead. Others say she will be offered a part in Lord Webber’s new sequel to Phantom, Love Never Dies. Interestingly Webber’s long-time music producer, Nigel Wright, also works on Britain’s Got Talent.
So, they say RTE is broke, and won’t be able to pay wages beyond the winter. Bad news, either way, for licence payers and bad news for viewers, as it will mean a reduction in services, quality and no doubt home produced shows. Yet, eighteen months ago they said they had a little surplus and could afford to update their newsroom, etc. So, money spent, big salaries paid, with out money as much as the advertising revenue. Now, advertising is down and who will pay? Yes, the staff will have to expect and accept pay-cuts, at a time it has to meet new quotas of to buy product from independent producers. So some senior staff take redundancy and become independent producers. Some senior managers get €12,000 a year to use their own cars rather than company cars. Yerra but times are tough, as if we didn’t know that!
The brilliant bank holiday weather continued into the week, the sun sizzled, old barbeques were scraped down and fired up and BBC4 went into back catalogue mood with a Mommas And Papas tribute, California Dreamin’ and it was a blast of nostalgia for a folk rock band who sang about themselves – and no one’s getting fat ‘cept Mamma Cass. Wouldn’t be politically correct these days but that was the land back summers of love and madness. The band was a hit before they played a gig and in the two years of their meteoric fame hardly played a hundred gigs – a studio singing band – until tragedy struck and death and egos broke up the golden dream. Today this group are still selling their back catalogue.
Love it, like it or hate it, but that summer, sea, sun, sangria and sweaty sex, Benidorm on UTV has become their most popular sit-com in years. About six million watched series two and it got a BAFTA nomination. It was initially derided as being a Carry-On embarrassment but people still watch Last Of The Summer Wine, and it was like the criticism that Killinaskully got about making a show of the Irish but viewers loved it. Benidorm whetted viewers appetite with an hour long special and Johnny Vegas is a howl. Viewers have favourites among the crazy cast that remind them of their first kiss-me-quick holidays in the costa-del-wherever. It is filmed in Benidorm from Feb to May in a real hotel – the Sol Pelicanos Ocas, and is great for Spanish tourism.
Don’t you just enjoy a good mystery, a good puzzle to solve; well C4 cocked a cheeky snook at the BBC with a detailed six year look at Stonehenge in a Time Team Special. Last year BBC2 said it was a place of healing, a mystical place of solstice healing. Now C4 say it is a burial or memorial place and their research was pretty believable. Then again, I believed the Beeb last year but Tony Robinson has that trustworthy, common touch. They examine, have a theory; then go and try to prove it. Must say it was fascinating stuff and so unlike the official brochures on the site. No big solar or other space stuff, just a focal point in a landscape, to be viewed as how it might have been four thousand years ago. Could this also make us re-think Tara and Newgrange? Over to you RTE. Oops, I nearly forgot, they are broke, almost in ruins themselves.
Why can’t RTE come up with a fine idea like BBC2, with business and clothing guru, Mary Portas, in a quick three episodes of Queen Of Charity Shops, as she partially had to admit defeat trying to modernise Save The Children charity shops. People use these places as dumping ground for tat and useless bric-a-brac and the shops are staffed by volunteers who, to put it unkindly, seemed remnants themselves. Great to see her having to admit her new ideas weren’t working and the dear ladies were a happy scream.
Loved the BBC2 series, Keep It In The Family, and especially the last in the run about Austins, a department store, in Derry, where an M.D. father wanted his London-based and successful daughter to come home and carry on the family business. Lots of beautiful people moments about an old style store trying to compete with homogenised modern retailing. It showed how little but meaningful changes can go to a sense of ownership and progress as a human skill, not a box of rules. Great TV and again, why not try it on RTE?