TV Reviews

Near the outset of Rough Rider (RTE1), Kevin Kimmage recalled of sports journalist brother Paul that, when they were growing up, “he had a very vibrant sense of humour. I don’t think he has a very vibrant sense of humour anymore”. Certainly on the evidence of this 90-minute documentary, you wouldn’t get much of a […]

The Late Late Show

by John Boland

Irish Independent, 2012 When President de Valera addressed the nation through the new medium of Irish television on New Year’s Eve, 1961, he compared broadcasting to atomic energy, both of which “can be used for incalculable good but can also do irreparable harm.” Indeed, he confessed that when he thought of the “immense power” of television and radio […]

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Women and Children

by John Boland

Irish Independent, November 12, 2011 Women who have children not only have the right to go out and get themselves a job – they have an absolute duty to do so. That was the opinion of critic and columnist Emer O’Kelly on It’s Not Personal (RTE1) and, boy, did she tell us about it. Indeed, in Emer’s […]

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Come Dine with Me

by John Boland

Irish Independent, April 14, 2012 The saddest remark I heard in ages came from Holly Sweeney in the first instalment of Celebrity Come Dine with Me Ireland (TV3). Telling the camera what she did for a living, she said: “People would know me best from being the ex-girlfriend of Rory MclIroy, the professional golfer”. And a little later, […]

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When in Rome

by John Boland

Irish Independent, March 16, 2013 Like any self-respecting broadcaster, RTE was on the spot when the new pope was introduced to the world last Wednesday evening and it provided engrossing coverage of this extraordinary ritual – no matter what one’s religious persuasion, there’s nothing to beat pomp and ceremony when staged by experts at putting on a good […]

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Love/Hate

by John Boland

Irish Independent, November 17, 2012 The first episode in the new season of Love/Hate (RTE1) culminated in a brutally violent rape and murder, but long before that most of the women characters had already been used and abused – not just by the young males who dominate this crime drama but by its makers as well. You could […]

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A lot of Blarney

by John Boland

Irish Independent, April 20, 2013 Who needs RTE to talk up The Gathering when our friends in the North are even more fervent in promoting the wonders of our enchanted isle? As it happens, Our Friends in the North is the title of Kevin McAleer’s new series about the Scots Irish, but I’ll get to that after […]

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Irish Independent, March 23, 2013 Nineteen artistic worthies were summoned to the Aras for Glaoch: The President’s Call (RTE1), which left me pondering why nineteen equally worthy others hadn’t been given the nod. Seamus Heaney was there, of course, as well as Paula Meehan, the latter gazing out a window and soulfully declaiming a poem that seemed to […]

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Nuala O’Faolain

by John Boland

Irish Independent, March 24, 2012 Last Monday night’s Nuala was the third documentary about the late Nuala O’Faolain that RTE1 has screened in the past six years. That makes it at least one too many, and though in substance and general interest this new film was vastly superior to its predecessors, it suffered from the same basic problem […]

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Clerical Gripes

by John Boland

Irish Independent, November 3, 2012 Like most of the celebrities with whom he’s been schmoozing throughout his priestly life, Fr Brian D’Arcy has always embraced the limelight – indeed, for anyone who’s lived through the last four decades, he’s been a constant media presence, whether through his Sunday World column or as guest on innumerable chat shows and […]

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Bernadette Devlin

by John Boland

Irish Independent, February 4, 2012 Whenever someone mentions the name Bernadette Devlin (not often, as it happens), the image I summon up is of a long-haired slip of a girl in a miniskirt standing on a windswept platform and delivering speeches full of youthful fury – a politicised Dana, if you like, before Dana herself got political. Whenever […]

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Lughnasa Lunacy

by John Boland

Irish Independent, August 6, 2011 At the outset of Lughnasa Live (RTE1), Grainne Seoige revealed that the Co Clare heritage park from which she was hosting the show was “surrounded by wild boars.” Sadly, we never got to see them. Instead we had to content ourselves with the tame bores whom she had gathered inside the encampment to […]

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Libel Matters

by John Boland

Irish Independent, November 26, 2011 As a practising journalist, I wish I could say I’m dismayed at the disgrace RTE has incurred over its libelling of Fr Kevin Reynolds (there but for the grace of God and all that), but I’m afraid it didn’t even come as a surprise to me. Reviewing the Prime Time Investigates film […]

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Dragon’s Den

by John Boland

Irish Independent, March 9, 2013 Is it just me or does anyone else think Dragon’s Den should have been buried along with the Celtic Tiger, on the mangy tail of which it initially rode? Maybe, as presenter Richard Curran argued at the outset of the show’s fifth season on RTE1, now is the time “when new businesses […]

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A TV Year

by John Boland

It was the decade in which there were more programmes than ever to watch, though just as few worth watching. Indeed, more invariably means less, and so when the very finite number of good programmes capable of being made are spread over 187 channels, they hardly register amid the gunge that surrounds them. There’s only […]

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Every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, over 130,000 people have been forced to seek work outside Ireland within two years, and, yes, more than 280,000 jobs have evaporated since the recession began, and, as if that’s not bad enough, a third of recently-polled young Irish adults have declared their intention to emigrate in 2011, […]

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TV Review

by John Boland

Having written last Saturday about the programmes I had most admired in the past twelve months, it was with some degree of interest that I tuned into Ireland’s Top TV Moments, a compilation of what 3e deemed to be the most riveting television occasions of 2010. Puzzlingly, nothing that I had singled out featured in […]

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THOSE of us who’ve managed to get through our lives without listening to RTE 2fm — certainly not in the evening and hardly ever in the morning, even when Gerry Ryan was in situ — will be bidding adieu to Ryan Tubridy later in the summer when he moves from his 9am Radio 1 slot […]

Alan O’Brien’s tirade from the audience on last Monday’s edition of The Frontline (RTE1) was an outburst waiting to happen, and I’m only surprised such an expression of fury at the salaries of top broadcasters hadn’t occurred sooner – on Pat Kenny’s morning radio programme, say, or the Marian Finucane Show or Joe Duffy’s Liveline: […]

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Announcing RTE’s autumn and winter schedule a few weeks ago, the station’s new director of programming Steve Carson promised us shows that would “innovate and entertain, inform and initiate,” while his superior Noel Curran vowed that our viewing experience would be enriched by “quality Irish programmes.” Alas, the road to hell is paved with the […]

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