Paul Healy’s Week

THURSDAY

Worth a watch…

We’ve been catching up on two shows on Netflix, both of which first aired in 2016.

Motherland, a British sitcom, focuses on the challenges of motherhood, as faced by a group of middle-class women, who are (sort of) friends. I wasn’t aware of it until recently. This slick sitcom features great writing and a superb cast. It’s very enjoyable.

We also came across Designated Survivor, a far-fetched but entertaining thriller, in which Kiefer Sutherland plays a man who suddenly becomes President of the United States after a terrorist attack wipes out virtually the entire government. While it’s cliched at times – and features many implausible sub-plots – it’s a very entertaining, fast-paced thriller, which I think many readers would enjoy.

 

FRIDAY  

Harry’s book

There’s nothing quite like Liveline. Just now, a caller rang in to Katie (sitting in for Joe), joining the queue to join the Prince Harry Lack of Appreciation Society.

Someone had made the point that Harry’s tell-all book was justified as he’d received a $20m deal from the publishers. After all, the Corgis have more Royal income options than Harry has now.

The caller was having none of it. “Why doesn’t he get a proper job…like set up a carwash or something?”

All suggestions should be given consideration, but surely Harry’s done enough washing in public for now?

 

SATURDAY

Two lads chat (barely)

The problem with setting very high standards – in any walk of life – is that people expect you to maintain them every time. And that’s not realistic.

A great actor produces Oscar-rated performances in a few movies, then has a bad film or two…and suddenly he’s deemed to be past it, washed up, to have lost what he once had.

I see people saying John Cleese is no longer funny, when they should in fact still be expressing thanks for the genius of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.

Then there’s this odd thing whereby some people think everything a brilliant artist does has to be categorised as, well…brilliant. They can’t see any flaws in their hero.

I thought of all of this when the new series of the Tommy Tiernan Show began tonight (RTE One). Firstly, landing Roy Keane was a great coup for the show. As a football pundit with Sky Sports, Keane is box office…straight-talking, sometimes intimidating, often very funny, frequently explosive. In his role as a divisive Irish legend, he’s box office too.

Given Tiernan’s deserved reputation as a great interviewer – a great listener, certainly – we might reasonably have hoped that what was to follow would be TV gold. It wasn’t.

Not that you’d think that from some of the reaction on Twitter, where some viewers hailed the musings of Roy and Tommy as another epic example of Tiernan’s ability to get inside the heads of his guests. It wasn’t; that’s the myth messing with reality.

It’s okay to say that this wasn’t vintage Tiernan, that this interview was at times excruciating. I’m well aware that part of Tommy’s brilliance is the fact that he really listens to his guests, embraces pauses, has no fear of reflective periods of silence. But the silences that punctuated this stop-start interview were merely awkward silences, not profound moments.

The reality is that Tiernan struggled to get into Roy’s head, which is fine. The main reason this wasn’t the revealing interview we’d all have liked is because Roy had no intention of letting that happen. As someone said on Twitter, he wasn’t going to be psychoanalysed. Tiernan recognised this, suggesting to Roy that he was very guarded.

As it turned out, the second half of the interview was much better than the first (Roy might say that’s what matters in football games). Roy finally began to relax, and Tommy – previously frustrated, still slightly bemused – seemed to relax too, once he had accepted that there was a wall of sorts around his guest.

It ended with Tommy lauding Keane’s greatness, perhaps the clearest evidence that this interview didn’t quite go as the host would have wanted.

That then was when Tommy met Roy. It wasn’t vintage Tiernan, because Keane just wouldn’t allow himself to be vulnerable (which is fine). It was entertaining at times, awkward and boring at other stages. Keane is still an enigma of sorts, Tiernan is still a fascinating and brilliant chat show host.

 

SUNDAY

Help! It’s DWTS

Browsing through the Sunday papers, and aware that Sky’s live golf coverage hadn’t started yet, to my horror I found myself in the same room as ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

I scrambled in search of a long article in the Sunday Times – maybe juicy Tory backstabbing, or a magazine special on a friendly vicar who turned out to be a serial killer – but my eyes and ears were occasionally drawn to the almost insufferable silliness.

Maybe it was all a dream, but I’d swear I saw ex-rugby international Shane Byrne dancing to Help! by The Beatles, and former State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy strutting her stuff to a Billy Ocean classic.

The contestants are actually grand, it’s the exaggerated positivity I struggle with! Everyone loves everyone, they all gush about one another, and the post-dance interviews are torture. Soon they’ll be saying the whole experience has been life-changing…and that they’ve made friends for life. What it needs is a little bit of the tension and rivalry that made Big Brother (and ‘I’m A Celebrity…’) so popular with viewers.

*I wish to clarify that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no friendly vicars engaging in such activity.

 

MONDAY

What’s up…punk?

According to the RTE News website today, Johnny Lydon – the artist also known as Johnny Rotten (of the Sex Pistols) – wants to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Johnny has Irish connections. His band (Public Image Ltd) is on a shortlist of six to represent Ireland.

Johnny Rotten in the Eurovision is a somewhat embarrassing prospect…for the image of punk rock, that is.