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Category: Behind the Scenes

TV REVIEW: ANNA GEARY: WHY GIRLS QUIT SPORT (RTÉ ONE)

IN A supremely ironic turn, the pedestrian Why Girls Quit Sport may encourage viewers to switch over to the football. Presented by ex-camogie star Anna Geary, the show follows a formula that has gained increased traction in recent years: a high-profile sporting figures picks a serious subject, has a few perfunctory conversations with people “on the ground”,... Read more »

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MARISSA CARTER’S TANNING DISASTER

TAN QUEEN Marissa Carter appears seriously browned off with her business partners, having taken to Instagram to announce that she plans to take legal action against them. These partners in the tan company are also behind the mega-successful pharmacy wholesale distributor, Sundrelle, which made a profit of €3.76m in 2019, bringing accumulated profits to over... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: IFTAS 2021 (VIRGIN MEDIA ONE)

ONE OF the striking aspects of the IFTA awards show is the irony of celebrating high standards with a show that tends to merely muddle its way through its time on air. Unavoidably, this year, any surprise element of the IFTA show has been undermined by the necessity to go ‘virtual’. This resulted in a... Read more »

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THE IAN BAILEY INDUSTRY

Ian Bailey

ALL OF a sudden it feels as if a cottage industry has emerged around the tragic figure of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was murdered in Cork in 1996. While her killing has rarely been out of the headlines for long, there has been an upsurge in the amount of journalistic effort expended on the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE ROAD TO PARTITION (BBC ONE)

IT WAS once said about a dog that walked on its two hind legs was that what was surprising was not the way it walked, but the fact it walked at all. Directed by Brian Henry Martin on BBC NI, The Road to Partition (the first of the two-part series of which aired this week)... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: BACK TO BARRYTOWN (RTÉ ONE)

THE 30TH anniversary of The Commitments has seen RTÉ unveil the nostalgia-fest Back To Barrytown, a three-part documentary on the Roddy Doyle screen trilogy that also included The Snapper and The Van. The first instalment proved an enjoyable enough look back at Alan Parker’s hit musical, although given it was the first and by some distance best of the Barrytown films,... Read more »

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BOOK REVIEW: DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR/ WHAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN DO NEXT EMMA DABIRI

NON-FICTION literature about race and racism have surged in popularity over recent times and bookshop shelves are groaning with titles. One Irish exponent is historian and recently appointed board member of the Hugh Lane Gallery, Emma Dabiri, who has just published a novel tapping into this zeitgeist. It follows a previous offering that dealt with... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: DR CASSIDY’S CASEBOOK (RTÉ ONE)

THE FIRST episode of Dr Cassidy’s Casebook was a bizarre attempt to make a compelling television personality out of Marie Cassidy, the former state pathologist. Quincy ME she ain’t. In one sense, it’s not hard to fathom the decision to pursue Cassidy’s book, Behind the Tape, with a television series. The old gum shoe detectives... Read more »

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RADIO REVIEW: LATE DEBATE (RTÉ RADIO ONE)

BACK AFTER an enforced hiatus, Late Debate returned to RTÉ Radio this week. Katie Hannon’s midweek scrap had been off air since January due to travel and social distancing restrictions. With three politicians, a journalist and an academic on the panel the format remained unchanged on Tuesday night. As if to underline a tentative resumption... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: WILD MOUNTAIN THYME

SOMEWHERE IN Wild Mountain Thyme there is a workmanlike romcom buried beneath blarney that had an expiry date sometime in the early 20th century. It is not quite as bad as people probably think but of more concern maybe is the amount of money pumped into it by the hapless taxpayer. Occasionally, because otherwise you’d... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: TODAY (RTÉ ONE)

OVER THE past year of lockdown, RTÉ’s daily light entertainment offering Today has grimly ploughed on, keen to frame itself as an essential part of maintaining national morale. As with The Late Late Show, however, its output has had more than a tinge of desperation. Indeed, RTÉ has at times resembled the Simpsons episode where Krusty The Clown – frustrated... Read more »

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DAVID BALFE’S EDITS

THE RISE OF Dublin musician David Balfe has been an intriguing one, shooting from relative obscurity to topping the charts and sold out Olympia Theatre dates in just months. Even Jim Carroll, a man reliably in the know, was taken aback following Balfe’s appearance on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland in November. Writing for... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: ÓMÓS – MICHAEL D @ 80 (TG4)

JUST AS the pomp began to subside across the water at Windsor Castle last weekend, a more modest tribute to the Irish head of state was broadcast on TG4 Sunday night. Even in the heyday of the Late Late Show, special coverage devoted to a politician’s birthday would hardly have been considered appropriate, let alone... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: HOME ADVANTAGE  (RTE ONE)

FOR RTÉ viewers, the pandemic has pushed the tolerance threshold to a new level, with the national broadcaster apparently curious to see just how much audiences can take before throwing in the towel. For viewers wobbly on their feet and reeling from a barrage of blows, the arrival of a new Saturday night light entertainment... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: REELING IN THE YEARS (RTÉ ONE)

IN TERMS of rarity, Reeling In The Years is a phenomenon roughly equivalent to the asteroid crash that wiped out the dinosaurs: an original RTÉ show that enjoys both critical acclaim and audience popularity. While the programme’s aim is to capture a flavour of bygone years, before a frame is even shown, the new series provides a... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: PRIME TIME (RTÉ ONE)

Miriam O’Callaghan

AS THE Champions League quarter-finals kicked off this week, there was also significant action in TV’s lower tiers. After David McCullagh’s departure for the Six-One News last year, Prime Time finally unveiled its much-hyped new squad. In recent times, RTÉ’s flagship current affairs show has been doing a passable impression of Sheffield Utd, rooted to the bottom of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: IARNRÓD ENDA (RTE ONE)

WHATEVER THE Irish for ‘anorak’ may be, it’s clear (when it comes to the railways) that former Taoiseach Enda Kenny is not a natural one. In a brief Late Late Show appearance last weekend, ostensibly to promote his new RTÉ ONE television show — Iarnród Enda – cursory attention was paid to the series in... Read more »

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THE IFTAS’ ROYAL COMPETITION

JUST WHEN you thought the ‘awards season’ couldn’t get any longer, along comes the inaugural RTS Ireland Television Awards, “recognising excellence in Irish television production and Irish-international co-productions”. It is to be broadcast on Virgin Media One on Tuesday, with Muireann O’Connell fronting.  RTS stands for, er, Royal Television Society – a UK charity that “promotes... Read more »

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SARAH MCINERNEY’S PRIME SLOT

Sarah McInerney

WHILE RTÉ has rolled out the red carpet for the new presenters of Prime Time, there has been no mention of Louise Byrne and Mark Coughlan, who had been co-presenting the show for the past eight months. Byrne and Coughlan stood in as presenters to cover Miriam O’Callaghan and David McCullagh’s breaks last August, and... Read more »

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PENNEYS FOR LAURA’S THOUGHTS

Laura Whitmore

PRIMARK WILL undoubtedly be hoping that its new 12-month collaboration with Laura Whitmore will appease the sustainability brigade. Although if the initial reaction to her new role is anything to go by, there is quite a way to go before that happens. Accusations of “greenwashing” were levelled at the fashion brand when Whitmore announced that... Read more »

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REVIEW: CREEDON’S ATLAS OF IRELAND (RTÉ ONE)

JOHN CREEDON’S latest jaunt around the country remains firmly on the path well trodden down a string of Sunday night offerings on RTÉ One. The second season of Creedon’s Atlas of Ireland picks up where the first left off, itself a minor tweak of Creedon’s Retro Road Trip, Creedon’s Road Less Travelled, Creedon’s Wild Atlantic... Read more »

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BALLINACURRA’S BALANCE SHEET

THOSE WITH a cool €6.35m to spare may be interested in purchasing Ballinacurra House in Kinsale from Des and Lisa McGahan, having seen it profiled in the Irish Times. The Georgian estate dates back to 1770, and it rents out to the glitterati for approximately €40,000 per week. It has hosted King Willem-Alexander of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: TODAY ST PATRICK’S DAY SPECIAL (RTE ONE)

AS IF the past year hasn’t been sufficiently dystopian, hapless RTE viewers have had to endure an avalanche of light entertainment “content” (ie fillers) from the national broadcaster. Apparently assembled by a Montrose programming algorithm, the Today St. Patrick’s Day Special may well represent the nadir of this unwelcome trend. As ever, Dáithí Ó Sé’s... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: SMOTHER (RTE ONE)

KATE O’RIORDAN’S Smother, which RTE has described as a “domestic noir” six-part series, kicked off in RTE’s Sunday night slot for what is considered, somewhat erroneously, as the principal hour for “home-produced” drama. “Home produced” covers a multitude of foreign backers and money brokers these days. Filmed in west Clare during the pandemic, and directed by... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: GOODBYE HOUSE (RTE ONE)

WHILST THE country may be in the midst of a housing crisis, independent production companies can always find a home for their property show pitches on RTE. The Montrose obsession with the genre knows bounds: now in its second series, Goodbye House is preceded on Thursday nights by Channel 4 buy-in Grand Designs, while similarly themed shows in... Read more »

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LATE LATE SHOW MISERYFEST

Ryan Tubridy

Given that RTÉ has a history of ignoring its licence-payers’ wishes, it comes as no surprise that The Late Late Show consistently chooses to eschew taking its viewers’ feedback on board. High-profile viewers like media personality Maia Dunphy, PR maven Valerie Roe, and People Before Profit’s Barbara Smyth took to Twitter last weekend to protest... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: HOME SCHOOL HUB (RTÉ)

IN AN attempt to fill the gap left by ongoing school closures, the return of Home School Hub ensures that young children can access curriculum-based learning, even if they don’t have the internet. It also means that RTÉ gets to show off its public service broadcasting credentials by handing over three hours of television daily... Read more »

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FEEDING OPERATION TRANSFORMATION’S COFFERS

AS RTÉ’s Operation Transformation clogs up our TV screens and radio shows for the 12th year running, you’d have to wonder how it’s still deemed acceptable to publicly humiliate people on national TV for being overweight. Or indeed how acceptable it is that the show is being sponsored to the tune of €230k by the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: CLEAR HISTORY (RTÉ 2)

“WE ALL have moments in our lives we wish we could delete,” host Kevin McGahern announces at the start of Clear History – and many RTE viewers might choose to forget the broadcaster’s extensive roll-call of ‘comedy’ flops. Unfortunately, Clear History is destined to join the ever-growing Montrose hall of comedy shame. Even with the broad squad of UK... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: MARIAN (RTÉ ONE)

VIEWERS WATCHING Patrick Farrelly and Kate O’Callaghan’s documentary on Marian Finucane this week, will have been taken with its narrator, John Clarke, his grief for his wife, who died suddenly one year ago, and the manner in which he is filmed in black and white by Kate McCullough. But the licence fee payer’s enjoyment of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: CALLAN KICKS THE YEAR 2020 (RTE ONE)

MUCH OF the commentary around 2020 includes the word “unprecedented” for obvious reasons but what clearly did not fit into this category was the inability of Oliver Callan to convince with his impersonation of a sharp political satirist. Once more, the jaded format found the comic hauling out his slew of Bobby Davro-style impressions for... Read more »

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DEIRDRE O’KANE’S GIG NATION

HIGH PROFILE hosting gigs are relatively scarce these days thanks to the Covid pandemic. On that basis, the knowledge that the few available jobs are being hoovered up by two comedians must truly rub salt into the wounds of our seasoned presenters. Every time you turn on the TV, you run the risk of Deirdre... Read more »

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FRANK AND THERESA’S MUSICAL SWANSONG?

It’s once more into the fray for the indefatigable Frank McNamara and Theresa Lowe, whose financial misfortunes had a very public airing last year. With their well-documented difficulties out of the way, the pair appear to be launching a return to the world of entertainment. Their brand new company, McNamara-Lowe Video Productions Limited, was set... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: LOVE IS IN THE AIR (RTE PLAYER)

RELATIONSHIPS scarcely come more toxic than that between RTE and its viewership – a fact again rammed home by “socially distanced” dating show Love Is In The Air. In a month where Warners Bros’ decision to move its entire slate of 2021 movies to streaming service HBO Max sparked a major debate in the trade papers,... Read more »

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BLACK’S HEART BEATS AGAIN 

HE HAS had major chart successes over the years, but record company boss Paul O’Reilly’s heart was presumably low when his Terenure pad failed to sell for its initial asking price of 1.1m.  After languishing on the market for a while, the news that a buyer was willing to stump up €995,000 for 6 Rathdown... Read more »

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DR EVA PILES ON THE POUNDS

Eva Orsmond

TV doctor Eva Orsmond is undoubtedly hoping that lardy Irish masochists will trundle over to her Portuguese “health hotel” when it opens on May 1, particularly as the project has, to date, cost €3.2m. The stern Finnish doctor and her husband Wyatt purchased the Solar Alvura resort in Moncarapacho, having made a tidy profit from... Read more »

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