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Category: Behind the Scenes

TV REVIEW: BARNEY CURLEY: THE MAN WHO BEAT THE BOOKIES (RTÉ ONE)

THE RECENT Barney Curley documentary on RTÉ that showcased the legendary punter’s famous Yellow Sam coup, orchestrated in Bellewstown in 1975, would have sent shivers down the spine of bookmakers watching, in particular any bookies who may have been starting out in the game back then. The documentary also portrayed Curley as a man who... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: DAVID BROPHY’S FRONTLINE CHOIR (RTE1) 

WITH EACH successive national crisis, RTÉ apparently feels compelled to commission a series in which David Brophy conducts a choir featuring a selection of those most affected. Given the national broadcaster’s chronic finances, perhaps it’s only a matter of time before he rounds up Dee Forbes et al for a run-through of ‘Money’s Too Tight... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: DEADLY CUTS

WATCHING RACHEL Carey’s chronically unfunny Deadly Cuts is something like delving in a charity shop bargain bin in the faint hope of unearthing something fashionable for that upcoming night out. Instead, all we find is a string vest with too many holes. Unlikely though it may seem, Australian director Baz Luhrmann can take some of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE TEAM THAT TURNED UP (RTE ONE)

FIRST BROADCAST on Eir Sport earlier this year, The Team That Turned Up – an account of the events leading up to 1973 Five Nations clash between Ireland and England – proved an enjoyable look at a story that perhaps had become somewhat lost in the annals of Irish sporting history. Directed by Luke McManus, scion of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: GLOW-UP IRELAND (RTE 2)

WITH AN epidemic of reality show formats sweeping through RTÉ, the national broadcaster has now started turning to franchises nobody has even heard of. Produced by Dublin-based Indiepics – where Conor Moloney is MD and John Cummins is chairman – Glow-Up Ireland is (of course) a version of the UK original, which apparently commenced in 2019 on... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE BIG DEAL (VIRGIN MEDIA)

WATCHING VIRGIN’S colossally-hyped The Big Deal, it is hard not to recall Blackadder’s reaction upon seeing Baldrick’s Charlie Chaplin impersonation: “Baldrick, the only impression you can do is of a man with no talent.” Despite an all-out PR offensive from Virgin insisting on the show’s vitality and freshness, it simply proves a warmed-over version of the... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: MODERN LOVE

TIME WAS when Maeve Binchy and Cecelia Ahern were critically derided for their tales of middle class characters discussing their love lives at tedious length.

These days, John Carney and Lenny Abrahamson are showered with hype and critical garlands for similar stories.

READ MORE »

FILM REVIEW: HERSELF

THIS ULTIMATELY unsatisfying film marries two pretty standard subjects of social realist cinema—domestic violence and housing need—in the redemptive story of Sandra (Clare Dunne), who wrests security for herself and for her two young daughters ‘against the odds’. The story, initially titled Owned, was written by Dunne and subsequently brought together as a film project... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: WILDFIRE

CATHY BRADY’S debut feature Wildfire is a far better film than the other Irish titles released since cinemas reopened, yet there were fewer than ten people at the screening Goldhawk attended on the opening weekend. Ironically, the film was prefaced by a Screen Ireland ad seeking to attract Irish audiences to forthcoming Irish films—a mountain... Read more »

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MONTROSE’S AUTUMN OFFERINGS 

ACCORDING TO a recent report commissioned by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, RTÉ’s chronic finances mean it’s staring down the barrel at an “existential crisis”, the reasons for which become clearer when looking at its underwhelming autumn line-up. There is more than a hint of desperation in the accompanying notes from director general Dee Forbes,... Read more »

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FILM REVIEW: BOYS FROM COUNTY HELL

THAT THERE is a strong thread of the gothic in Northern Ireland filmmaking may stem from the emphasis on hellfire and damnation in evangelical Protestant preaching. Twin bothers Roy and Noel Spence from County Down were spinning grand guinol yarns as far back as the 1960s with titles such as The Coming of the Black Dawn, The Testament of... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: DIFFERENT LEAGUE (RTÉ ONE)  

A BBC production first broadcast in the UK earlier this year, Different League: The Derry City Story was aired on RTÉ last week amidst considerable fanfare. The timing proved grimly appropriate, with the perennial divisions in Northern Irish football illustrated by a high-profile incident on the same evening. The Beeb was inundated with complaints following a... Read more »

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TV REVIEW: THE EIGHTH (RTÉ ONE)

DOCUMENTARY FILM The Eighth is a project likely to please nobody. Publication in July of the latest complaints made to the Broadcasting Authority (BAI), some three years since votes were counted, includes over a dozen rulings on recent programming related to the Eighth Amendment, referendum retrospectives and double that again regarding blasphemy on the Irish... Read more »

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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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