independent

Sunday 31 August 2014

Hector up to a bit of old Paddywhackery nonsense

Published 18/03/2014 | 05:38

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Hector Ó hEochagáin

YOU can't really blame other nations for taking the mick out of us for all our Paddywhackery when you have the likes of Hector Ó hEochagáin on the telly driving around Ireland trying to revive 'The Slow Set'.

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And that's exactly what Hector was doing on RTE 1 last week in the programme Hector goes Courtin. You may have thought you'd gotten rid of him, since his departure from the 2FM Breakfast show recently, but no, he's back on our screens and big and bold as ever, this time asking the question, 'where do people of the opposite sex (indeed the same sex too) meet nowadays?'

Filmed in a Paddy O'Gorman style, Hector drove around the country in his van talking to random strangers about how they met potential suitors. He tried speed dating, (I'd say three minutes with Hector would be more than enough), he visited the ballrooms of days gone by, he paid a trip to the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna before ending up in that not so salubrious watering hole, Copperface Jacks in Dublin, where he tried to bring back the slow set.

Unfortunately the young socialites, many of whom were self confessed "boggers and culchies" and full to the gills of cheap spirits and shots, could not grasp the concept of the slow set and ended up looking awkward and embarrassed as the strains of 'Lady in Red" played over the club's sound system. Poor Hector was dismayed. Cue diddly iddle music and dancing leprechauns.

With a title Famous Rich and Hungry, the BBC's latest Reality TV/documentary was sure to spike plenty of interest last Wednesday night. The two parter followed four famous volunteers including Theo Paphitis of Dragon's Den, Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea, actress Cheryl Ferguson who played "Hev" in Eastenders and journalist Rachel Johnson as they spend a couple of days living with some of Britain's poorest families in aid of Sports Relief. I was expecting lots of cringeworthy moments, and there were some, like when Jamie said he really missed elderflower wine and hummus and had sometimes coughed up £1,000 on one night out whilst his host family struggled with less than £11 a week for food.

But there were also some very poignant scenes where we saw extremely vulnerable people struggling to put food on the table, mothers going hungry so their children could eat and others begging at food banks for basic rations. The concept of the programme was clever and insightful but also slightly exploitive. The programme ended with the rich and famous going back to their full fridges in Notting Hill whilst the poverty stricken families carried on as before. No point in pricking our conscience if you're not going to do anything about it!

In the interests of transparency I must admit the only reason I turned on Astronauts on Channel 4 last week was because it was presented by Dermot O'Leary and sure all us women love Dermot O'Leary! But there was no sign of the Cheeky Chappy persona for which he is famed and instead there he was, not a grin in sight, presenting live from Houston with unique access to NASA Mission Control. And it was absolutely fascinating stuff! Leading up to the main event on Sunday night two hour long documentaries were broadcast - Astronauts: Living in space and Astronauts: Houston we have a problem.

Both shows revealed what daily life is like on the International space station as well as showcasing all the high tech sciencey stuff that takes place. But without doubt the piece de resistence was Sunday night's Live from Space: Lap of the Planet which was a two and a half hour pioneering broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston.

Viewers were given the chance to interact with the astronauts on board the ISS as they travelled the world in 90 minutes. Imagine! - One lap of the World in an hour and a half! We'll have some more of this kind of thing please!

ONES TO WATCH

The Widower, Wednesday, 9pm, ITV

Flagged as a dark new drama which challenges audiences to understand the mind of a serial killer, The Widower tells the story of real-life convicted murderer Malcolm Webster who was convicted in 2011 of the murder of his first wife and attempted murder of his second wife.

In researching the role, actor Reece Shearsmith declined to meet Webster himself, who is currently serving a life sentence but he did meet with family members of the victims. 'Every step of the way he was justifying his actions to himself.' Both of Webster's crimes were carried out with the intention of claiming life insurance money. Also starring Sheridan Smith.

The Takeover, Thursday, 9.30pm, RTE 2

In a nutshell The Takeover is about the staff of a business taking over ailing business for two weeks in an attempt to inject some new ideas and spirit into the company.

The basic premise being that nobody knows a business better than the people who work there and with the help of Norah Casey as mentor, this is their chance to prove that they have what it takes to drive the business forward. In the first programme, we go behind the scenes at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan which is struggling to keep its head above water.

Sport Relief 2014, Friday, BBC1, 7pm

It's that time of year again! A stellar cast including Gary Lineker, David Walliams, Davina McCall, Claudia Winkleman, Jack Whitehall and Fearne Cotton present this star studded Friday night extravaganza featuring original sketches, special celebrity performances and highlights from this year's challenges.

Look out for the return of Only Fools and Horses which is back after a 10 year absence with a sketch that sees David Beckham join Del Boy and Rodney in Peckham.

soap of the week

Coronation Street, TV3, Wednesday & Friday, 7.30pm

This week it's all happening in Corrie (and let's face it, not a lot has happened since poor Hayley kicked the bucket.) when Maria finally discovers what Todd has been up to when she catches him in a passionate clinch with Marcus.

How anybody could be as dozy as Maria has been in picking up on this is beyond me! Not only does Maria catch the pair in the act, but Audrey also witnesses the carry on of the pair of them and all hell breaks loose. Prepare for tears and tantrums!

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