Hoping there’s a happy ending for UK telly’s ‘golden couple’



Back in the earlier days of television, all of us who were lucky enough to have BBC television grew up with some of the best comedy acts and shows that have ever been seen – which for a lot of people have never been emulated, never mind replaced.

  There were a number of really good comedians such as Bob Monkhouse, Jimmy Tarbuck, Dave Allen, and of course the brilliant, recently deceased Bruce Forsyth, who fronted their own light entertainment shows, but for a lot of us at the time it was the double acts that really captured the hearts and minds of the television viewing audience.

  Morecambe and Wise and the Two Ronnies, – Barker and Corbett – were by far the best of them, but for a while some very mediocre pairs, like Little and Large and Cannon and Ball, managed to build very successful careers on very little ability. Then they all faded away and light entertainment shows became exactly what they said on the tin – very light on entertainment.

  And then along came a pair of cheeky Geordies (that means they came from Newcastle), and for ages Ant and Dec took over the world of light entertainment. Year after year they carried off every award that was available to them in the world of television, and their Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity…get me out of here! Shows kept them right up at the top of the ratings year in year out, and of course right up at the top of the earnings ladder too.

  And so it would appear that the duo were on top of the world, and that life could not be any better for the pair of them, but as we now know, life isn’t always as it seems, and for the last couple of years at least, the demons were taking a big hold on Ant (Anthony McPartlin).  His private life went into freefall, with his addiction to prescription drugs leading eventually to the break-up of his marriage and a long sad spell in Rehab.

  However, when he emerged from that difficult time, he seemed to have put it all behind him, returned to work on the Saturday night show, and all looked to be well with his world. We now know it wasn’t – and following a car crash last weekend, the star has been charged with drink-driving, and once more his career is in jeopardy. Once again he’s gone to Rehab, but this time it may be more difficult to pick up the pieces of his multi-million pound career.   

  There’s lot of speculation in the media as to the future of the successful partnership, and at the moment there seem to be a lot of conflicting stories around. I have to say that I would never watch the ‘Celebrity’ rubbish, and it was only by accident that I have ever seen the Saturday Night Takeaway, but I do hope Ant gets his life back in order soon again, and that the two best friends, which they certainly are, can pick up the pieces and resume their very lucrative careers.

  As for me, give me Graham Norton any time.  His programme is pure entertainment, and how he never wins the award for best show is beyond me. 


Locals off to Croke Park – again


This weekend coming, for the second time in a matter of months, will see our neighbouring counties – Galway and Roscommon – head to GAA Headquarters, Croke Park, this time to play in their respective league finals.

  A few short months ago they were there for the All-Ireland quarter-finals, and while both failed to make it any further, it’s a great sign to see them back again this Easter Sunday.

  I hope the Tribesmen can do better against the Dubs than they did that day against the men from the Kingdom, but it’s a tall order, particularly in the All-Ireland champions’ back yard. Meanwhile, on all known recent history, the Rossies should be good enough to see off the challenge of the Cavan team.

  I make no secret of my admiration for Kevin McStay’s management team, and I am delighted to see them make their detractors eat their words (of last year), while I must admit that, as a proud Galway man, I had grave doubts about Kevin Walsh’s ability to bring his team to the next level. As of now it looks like I was wrong, but by next Sunday evening we will all have a fair idea as to where exactly Galway football is.

  The other big thing that has happened but has almost been ignored is that a few short years after all the experts were decrying the quality of Connacht football, and telling us that we were years behind the other three provinces, all of a sudden we have three of the eight Division One teams from the West. I know it’s a long shot, but maybe soon we will finally welcome Sam Maguire back across the Shannon, and, in truth, it is long overdue; whichever one brings it back is hard to call but please God it will happen before too long.

And finally…

Finally for this week, I am very conscious of the huge upsurge in cycling all around the country, and indeed the world, and I am well aware that for some motorists the cyclists are a continual source of annoyance as they cycle up to three or four abreast when they could just as easily go in single file. In so doing, they make it very hard for the motorist to pass.

  On the other hand, many cyclists have major issue with motorists who drive too close to them when overtaking, and who often cut across the cyclists at turns or junctions, thereby putting lives in danger. In truth, both parties have some right on their side.

  Now I am not anti-cyclist at all, apart from the fact that last week as I walked on the footpath near my work in Athlone a fellow whizzed past me – and there is no doubt that had I accidentally veered into his path I would have been seriously injured. He should not have been speeding or even cycling on a footpath, but if he wanted to do so, the least he could have done was sound his bell and give us a warning as to his proximity.  

  Thankfully there was no harm done, but it still unnerved me a little, so, if you have a bike, use the proper cycle lanes and leave the footpaths to those who have to walk. I am heading off to the peace and quiet of Lenamarla for my daily walk, so ‘till next week, have a nice Easter –and eat loads of eggs!

Till next week, Bye for now!