Saturday 17 March 2018

The very best of TG4

Maith an fear - Paul O'Connell.
Maith an fear - Paul O'Connell.
Weather girls on TG4 resemble Penelope Cruz.
Telly gold: Paisean Faisean
Steip Beo.
The Wire.

Pat Fitzpatrick

As Emily Hourican talks to some leading lights at TG4, we look at what we love best on the Irish-language TV channel.


"What the fock?" That was the reaction across posh Ireland when it was announced that some juicy domestic rugby would be shown on TG4. The only upside is the posh crowd were already sending their kids to a gaelscoil so they wouldn't have to share a classroom with refugees. So at least there was someone in the house who could explain what was going on. The rest of us had to sit there and google key rugby phrases, such as fear suas ag dul ar aghaidh. Man up, going forward. But you knew that.


Does TG4 have a weather-girl farm somewhere in Connemara? You know, a place where they raise Spanish-looking stunners who are trained to read out the weather outlook for Ireland without breaking into tears. (Seriously, go on there, and give it a go. It's not as easy as it sounds.) It's fair to say these women provide a social service. We don't mind being told it will rain for a week by someone who looks like Penelope Cruz, say Irish men, but not their wives.


US crime drama The Wire was a huge hit for TG4. Particularly in Cork, where it was known as Dwyer. (Sorry.) Some say they could only make out a few words because it seemed like the actors were speaking a foreign language. Others say they have the same problem with Ros na Run. (Controversial.) The Wire is one of the most popular boxsets ever. 'Boxset' is the word we use in place of 'illegal download on the memory-stick I got from my nerdy cousin'.


Here is how it works. Three men choose clothes for a girl and she goes on a date with the guy who chooses best. Or was allowed to shop in French Connection, while the other guys were sent to a place called Lookin' Slutty. Who cares, because Paisean Faisean was telly gold. Particularly because there was always one guy with slightly less Irish than Vladimir Putin. "Feach ar an skirt beag, ta me very horny," said he a bit too loudly in some midlands boutique.


This sean-nos dancing show has a lot of positives. It isn't sean-nos singing, so you're spared a happy Clare man pretending to be sad and from Cairo. It also isn't Riverdance. So there's no prancing around like a demented American on three espressos and a double dose of happy pills. Steip Beo is just some cool, languid dancing, performed by people who look mildly embarrassed that they have a talent. You can't get more Irish than that.

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