Wednesday 21 August 2019

Pottery and sex - now there's a thought

Aoibhinn ni Shuilleabhain
Aoibhinn ni Shuilleabhain

John Boland

On Gogglebox (Channel 4) various families watched as contestants moulded phallic lengths of clay in BBC2's The Great Pottery Throw Down. "Pottery and sex - you'd be good at that, June," 80-year-old Leon said to his wife.

"You reckon?" she asked.

"Well, the sex was brilliant", he recalled. "Behave yourself", she cautioned.

The households also watched The Antiques Road Show on BBC1, with posh Giles from Wiltshire proposing that any Syrian arriving in England for the first time and wondering about the nation's character should be told about it: "People aren't swearing, they're not vomiting, they're looking at antiques - something we can be proud of, isn't it, Mary?"

But what would Leon or Giles have made of the first instalment of Ten Things to Know About (RTÉ1), which focused on the emotion of fear? Bafflement would probably have been their response because the programme certainly baffled this viewer. It began with presenter Kathriona Devereux on a rollercoaster because, you know, rollercoasters can be really frightening. And it continued with arachnaphobic co-presenter Aoibhinn ni Shuilleabhain attempting but failing to hold a hairy spider in her hand.

Then it was the turn of "weird science" presenter Fergus McAuliffe to inform us that anatidaephobia is "the fear that somewhere in the world there is a duck watching you", followed by yet another presenter, Jonathan McCrea, talking to some learned bod about torture and to wonder if it was ever justified and if it affected a victim's memory. And the point of all this? I haven't a clue.

In Trish Deseine's Doorstep Food (BBC1), the Paris-based chef ("I'm now one of France's best-known cookbook authors") was back in her native Antrim, where she puffed the endeavours of various food producers and food retailers.

It was all incredibly provincial and boring, and out-of-season, too, with Trish offering her elderflower fritters as "the perfect summer dessert". But it's November, Trish, or hadn't you noticed?

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