A great new comedy started on RTE 1 last Saturday evening at 8.30 pm.
The plot may have been a familiar one, but it was still a cracker.
From what I could gather, a small but fearsome man has been away from civilisation – maybe in a coma – for a number of years.
Suddenly, he returns to his native land, completely unaware of all that has changed while he has been ‘away.’
When viewers join the action, our hero is back amongst his adoring family/friends, and still coming to terms with the extraordinary ‘new Ireland’ he has just discovered.
As his thrilled followers hang on every word, the star of the show walks around in circles, deep in thought one moment, pondering the next, but mostly talking relentlessly. He is alarmed at what has happened while he was away. He is deeply saddened by the terrible changes, by how the ruling body has behaved in his absence. And, epic chieftain-in-waiting that he is, he has solutions galore.
It is moving, emotional…most of all it’s hilarious.
I think it was called ‘Labour Party Conference’ – I know it starred the wonderful Brendan Howlin.
Each new American drama/crime series/thriller seems to be more dramatic than the previous one. Is it a golden age for television/Netflix? A number of the various series’ are firm favourites in our house, but, at least up to now, I’ve just been a confused spectator, struggling to follow complicated plots, always playing catch-up, while still being impressed.
‘What happened there? Where did he come from? Can you rewind?’
It seems that non-stop killing is the currency of the modern-day television drama, many of them feeding off 21st century terrorism for their storylines. They’re very slickly made. There’s one at the moment where I fear for the cameramen/women; it seems just about everyone else is getting shot without a moment’s thought.
Not in the league of the stunningly slick new dramas of the last few years are ‘old reliables’ like Criminal Minds and CSI: Miami. These are still sufficiently complex for this viewer! In Criminal Minds, a handful of FBI investigators (always the same few, no-one ever takes holidays) have to chase down a serial killer – in every episode. It almost always involves the investigating team taking a trip on a plane. They are a clever group, but they would get nowhere if it wasn’t for one FBI woman, a flamboyant, always cheerful type who is a dab-hand on the ould computer. Her character’s name is Penelope Garcia, I believe (I played her at her own game and googled her). Thankfully she never takes a day off, certainly not when there’s a maniac on the loose who, for example, is tracking down victims who have red hair and pet terriers.
That’s the thing about Criminal Minds…the killers have the most bizarre list of boxes they need ticked before settling on their next victim.
Eventually one of the crack investigating team will conclude: “What if the person we’re looking for only strikes on a Tuesday and hates terriers and is killing off red-haired pet-lovers because he had a bad relationship with a red-haired dog owner which ended on a Tuesday?’
That narrows it down of course. The investigating foursome look at one another knowingly, get Penelope to press a few more buttons on the computer, and within minutes they burst in on the serial killer.
Inevitably in Criminal Minds, the killer is in the middle of trying to kill someone when rudely interrupted by the dashing FBI team.
The killer is never washing his car or putting kids to bed or even just relaxing on an armchair watching Judge Judy or maybe Homeland, or even old episodes of Criminal Minds.
It can be a bit gruesome and is utterly ridiculous, but at least the plot is not too difficult to follow! But I must try to get into some of the ‘new’ dramas, because even I can see that it truly is a golden age, with some superb stuff being produced. No wonder box sets are so popular.
In the meantime, anyone for Kojak, the original Hawaii Five-O, Ironside, or the one and only Columbo?
The column has got its hands on a recording of a conversation between two ‘old fogeys’, which is understood to have taken place in a small bar in Cong, Co. Mayo on Monday night.
Pat: “I don’t think I’ll come down town any more. It’s getting worse. Last night a few of the young local lads were on about getting golf lessons and next thing these two strangers butted in and started claiming they had won golf majors, had beaten Tiger Woods!”
Mikey: “Eh, that was probably Padraig Harrington and some other superstar…they were in town for the big wedding in Ashford Castle.”
Pat (oblivious): “Then this Spanish tourist comes in, small enough guy he was, and when he hears the locals talking about golf he starts mouthing off, saying ‘hey, I won the Masters!’ Crazy stuff.”
Mikey: “Eh Pat, I need to explain…that actually was Sergio Garcia…”
Pat (still oblivious): “You wanna see the set-up of him…wearing a ridiculous green jacket he was too.”
Mikey: “There was a celebrity wedding Pat, last night wasn’t a normal night in the local…how many drinks did you have? Where have you been?”
Pat (still not clued in, now on a roll): “Next, a scruffy red-haired kid comes in and asks for a lemonade and crisps…”
Mikey: “Eh, that will have been Ed Sheeran….Pat, I’m telling you, it was the ‘afters’ from a celebrity wedding…”
Pat (finally listening): “Celebrity wedding? There was no celebrity wedding in Cong. Sure wasn’t Marty Morrissey in Dublin all weekend and we know there’s no celebrity gathering in Ireland without Marty.”
Mikey: (stops and thinks, then gathers himself): “Look Pat, we both had a few too many over the weekend. But, trust me, it was a weekend with a difference. Did you stay long in the local last night after all that?”
Pat: “Well, I put up with those golf spoofers for a while and listened to a few more well-to-do strangers…but when this fellow started hogging the Karaoke and claiming to be Stevie Wonder…I just had to leave!”
Loving the snooker…not so much the actual live action of 2017, but the nostalgia, with the BBC rightly hyping up the 40th anniversary of the sport’s move to its ‘spiritual home’, The Crucible.
Watching old footage of Cliff Thorburn, Ray Reardon, the young Stephen Hendry, the young Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, Jimmy White, and the magic man himself – Alex Higgins – has been very nostalgic and enjoyable.
The Roscommon Lamb Festival kicked off on Wednesday and here at the Roscommon People we’re delighted to offer our full support as exclusive media partners.
We’re urging the public to come out in huge numbers to enjoy what promises to be a great festival over the coming days. We have full details throughout this week’s issue. See also www.roscommonlambfestival.com