Throughout last weekend's General Election coverage, I kept thinking of Keelin Shanley and of the distinctively unfussy and incisive contribution she would have brought to RTÉ's coverage of this momentous occasion.
But it was not to be and the news of her passing last Saturday cast a pall over coverage of the proceedings. There have been other and more high-profile RTÉ deaths in recent months, but the demise of a woman in her broadcasting prime was especially wrenching.
I didn't know her well but she was a near neighbour and in the last couple of years I frequently encountered her in our local restaurant, where she and her family often went after her day's work was over. I liked her a lot and admired her even more, and I was thrilled when she became co-anchor on the Six One news, to which she brought a real sense of authority and gravitas, alongside a true journalist's engagement with breaking stories and a kindly concern for those affected by many of these stories. She'll be greatly missed.
But speaking of the election, which I'm not, I keep consoling my liberal friends with the thought that, if Sinn Féin had properly gauged the public mood and had fielded 120 candidates rather than 42, we might now be living in a one-party state and wouldn't that be nice?
Anyway, credit to Bryan Dobson, Miriam O'Callaghan, David McCullagh and all their colleagues and pundits for helping to make this seismic election so engrossing, if unsettling, too. Ah well, the people have spoken.
On The Tommy Tiernan Show (RTÉ1) last weekend, the comedian's first guest was President Michael D Higgins, which was clearly very nice for both of them. "One of my best friends," declared Tommy as they warmly embraced. "Thank you, it's shared," replied Michael D. "Great, great," said Tommy.
The love-in continued when they sat down, leaving the viewer to wonder if this really was what Tommy's famously unpredictable chat show was meant to be about. But they were enjoying themselves so much that it was hard to begrudge them their delight in each other.
And their chat turned out to be very engaging, with lots of good one-liners, including Michael D's observation that the Brits are "still talking to us even if they've discovered greatness again".
But the host didn't seem to know anything about another guest, national archivist Catriona Crowe, even though she's an ubiquitous contributor to all sorts of RTÉ documentary series. But he's an attentive and enquiring interviewer and his conversation with her about the importance of preserving public records was absorbing.
The same couldn't be said for the second instalment of Herstory (RTÉ1), which was just as dutiful and dull as the first. It concerned Donegal-born but Pennsylvania-raised Kay McNulty, who worked as a mathematician for the US Army during World War II and who was involved in the creation and development of the world's first electronic general-purpose computer.
Again, this was the story of a woman fighting for recognition against male odds, but its flag-waving tone took precedence over human details that might have made her achievement seem more interesting.
At the very start of The End (currently streaming on Sky Atlantic), we see sixty-something Edie, recently widowed and lying on her bed in her English home, an empty bottle of vodka by her side and a plastic bag over her head. Then a fire breaks out in the kitchen and self-preservation kicks in with Edie jumping from her upstairs window.
That doesn't kill her, either, and so doctor daughter Kate flies her out to Australia, ensconcing her against her will in a nearby retirement home. Then one of Kate's patients, a young woman with incurable cancer, hangs herself in her hospital bed.
All of this takes place in the first of 10 30-minute episodes and it's offered by creator-writer Samantha Strauss as black comedy. So far I've only seen two episodes, but I found them very engaging, not least for the barbed script but mainly for the terrific playing by Harriet Walter as Edie and Frances O'Connor as Kate.
And in their determinedly unsentimental way, these opening episodes have already explored such feelings as grief and loneliness. Certainly worth a look.
And I'll be watching tomorrow night's second instalment of The Pale Horse (BBC1), if only to find out what will happen to suave businessman Mark, whose wife has been electrocuted in her bath, whose mistress has died in the bed they were sharing and who seems fated for death himself.
So what's going on in this adaptation by Sarah Phelps of a little-known Agatha Christie story? Search me, but there's a coven of witches in a sinister rural village who might, or might not, be at the root of it all. And there's Rufus Sewell as Mark, once again such a striking screen presence that you wonder why he has never achieved real stardom. Perhaps it's because of an essential coldness to him that precludes any real identification with the persona he projects, but he certainly commands the screen.
Meanwhile, The Split (BBC1) has returned for a second season with its tale of a family of divorce lawyers whose own relationships are a complete mess. This aspires to be an English take on The Good Wife and its follow-up The Good Fight, but it nowhere reaches the writing and acting heights of those two American series.
And they're such an unlikeable bunch in this glossy but vacuous soap opera that it's impossible to root for any of them.