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Some small-town secrets and authentic Irish accents

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Weekenders (2fm, Sat-Sun 2pm) is good fun, a typical bit of weekend fluff…which isn't meant as an insult, by the way.

Weekenders (2fm, Sat-Sun 2pm) is good fun, a typical bit of weekend fluff…which isn't meant as an insult, by the way.

Weekenders (2fm, Sat-Sun 2pm) is good fun, a typical bit of weekend fluff…which isn't meant as an insult, by the way.

Coma (Newstalk Sat 7am, Sun 10am) was an interesting enterprise: a two-part drama, written and produced by Kevin McCann. Especially interesting was the set-up: a young man called John lies in a coma, and in ten brief play-ettes, people sit by his bed, talking to him.

Of course, this reveals much more about them than him. He's a presence, listening but not responding, which makes John a sort of confessional for their secrets, dreams and sins.

And unlike the real confessional, there's no judgment made on what they say; these people don't even know if John can hear them. (Although his mother, whose monologue introduces each speaker, is judgmental enough, in a shrewish, small-town way.)

There's a diverse cast of callers: the priest, a neighbouring girl, the football coach, a psychiatric patient, his father, others. Most poignant is the contribution of John's girlfriend, whose friends tell her she's wasting her life continuing to visit (and to hope for a happy resolution).

Most disturbing was the final segment, when the play comes full-circle with the mother. She reveals she'd never wanted John the child - and now doesn't have her son as an adult.

Guilt was a major theme, which was both positive and negative. On the plus side, it's always a powerful focus for any drama; on the minus, it's been so overdone that sometimes you feel guilt is the only topic addressed in Irish drama.

Still, an ambitious, stylish work - I particularly liked how the constant sighs and bleeps of John's medical devices acted as a sinister soundtrack. Incidentally, Coma may soon be adapted for Danish TV; it'll be fascinating to see how it translates, both in language and medium.

Weekenders (2fm, Sat-Sun 2pm) is good fun, a typical bit of weekend fluff…which isn't meant as an insult, by the way. Paddy McKenna and Ruth Scott play music old or new and rattle through a dizzying array of topics: generally silly trivialities, which again is not a bad thing.

Last weekend, for instance, they covered - deep breath - cremation urns shaped as busts of the deceased, the top tracks of 2003, a beard-based dating app and a man who did 101 things with his wife's wedding dress.

I'm quite fond of this sort of nonsense; it's a diversion from the po-faced gloominess of current affairs, and it's entertainment. What I like most about Weekenders, though, is their accents.

So many broadcasters have that indefinable, quasi-American SoCoDu babble: bidda-bidda-bidda-bidda. Whereas Ruth and Paddy have real, west-of-the-Shannon accents; they sound like real people.

Ironically, this makes a discussion on the JCB speed world record a more authentic encapsulation of the real Ireland than any amount of vocal clones droning on about the economy.

Indo Review