Saturday 16 December 2017

This week I'm watching... TV with Paul Whitington

The Rose of Tralee with Daithi O Se - but the town has taken a battering from the recession
The Rose of Tralee with Daithi O Se - but the town has taken a battering from the recession
The Slap

Paul Whitington

The Rose of Tralee is the kitsch and uniquely Irish beauty pageant that refuses to go away.

Monday, RTE1, 8pm

One exposes oneself to a certain amount of ridicule by announcing plans to tune in to the Rose of Tralee, but there's something winningly naïve about the Kerry beauty contest that makes it immune to cynicism, and time. A few years back there was talk of calling a halt to the Rose, but on it ploughs undaunted.

It was expertly lampooned in Father Ted as the 'Lovely Girls' competition, but in its defence the Rose of Tralee was never some tacky Miss World spin-off. Personality gets just as many points as looks, and contestants are also expected to have a talent, leading to sometimes embarrassing explosions of dance and song. But the thing that makes the Rose really special is the rare public expression it gives to the Irish diaspora.

Loud and affable, Daithi O Se looks a lot more comfortable in the compering role than his predecessor, Ryan Tubridy, and each year the live show brings a mortifying new surprise. Last year it was the excruciating sight of New Orleans Rose Molly Molloy Gambel having a marriage proposal sprung on her by her eager-as-a-puppy boyfriend. Dare we hope for anything as good as that this year?



Monday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Stylishly grim mafia drama set in the slums of Naples.

Anyone who saw Matteo Garrone's 2008 film Gomorrah will recall it made The Sopranos look like an episode of Sesame Street. That hard-hitting mood continues in this fine TV drama that explores similar themes. A Shakespearean plot involves an ageing Neapolitan don called Pietro who's steadily losing his grip on his empire. Though subtitled, and not for the faint of heart, Gomorrah is a fine and unflinching thriller, and well worth catching up on.


The Killing: Season 4

Netflix, anytime

Troubled but addictive cop show finally reaches a conclusion.

It's been cancelled twice, and earned a nation's hatred by failing to reveal who did it at the end of season one, but the US Killing is finally coming to an end on its new home, Netflix. The six-episode fourth season went live on Netflix last week, and will hopefully provide some sort of closure for the thorny relationship of 
Detectives Holder and Linden, as played by Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in two
tremendous central performances.


The Slap

NBC, 2015

Controversial Australian novel will be turned into primetime US drama.

"Neighbours as written by Phillip Roth" is how one reviewer described Christos Tsioilkas' 2008 novel The Slap, which became an international talking point because of its controversial plot. In 2011 The Slap was turned into a well-regarded Australian TV drama (pictured above), and now ABC are planning a big budget American remake and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko has confirmed she'll be directing the opening episodes. Olodenko, whose recent credits include The Kids Are All Right, should provide a steady hand for what's bound to be a contentious series.

The Soapbox: Secret and Spoilers

Liberated pooches, immature exes and 'conscious friending'

Emmerdale: Ross is rocked by Donna's death, broken by news of her illness, and heartbroken she didn't tell him.

Riddled with guilt over how she died and confused over her feelings for him, he decides he needs to tell Marlon the truth… As if Marlon hasn't enough to deal with, given he needs to inform April her mummy is now "a superhero in the sky".

Adam and Aaron are in ribbons after the job went wrong, with Chas wanting her son to turn Adam in. That's just one of Aaron's building issues; he's self harming again. Oh, and Edna spots him leaving The Woolpack and calls the police.

Coronation Street: Simon's finally going to see Peter in prison, under the watchful eye of Leanne, so Mr. Barlow obviously needs a settler. Shame he gets himself royally hammered.

It's not that bad a day for Leanne however; Dev offers her a job in the kebab shop. Ken brings an unimpressed Deirdre to the back hole of beyond for his definition of a romantic holiday, while Amy decides to liberate Eccles as she's fed up with Maddie giving Simon all her attention. Neil's dealing with his break up with Andrea in a suitably mature manner (crank calling the cab office), and will Nick finally confess to faking his seizures?

Fair City: Yvonne insists Carol and Robbie join her and Dan for a drink, which is a bit 'awks' for the latter given he's just offered Robbie money to leave Carrigstown, while Mondo and Kerri-Ann try their hands at 'consciously friending'. Farrah is suddenly faced with the reality that her father's recovery will take ages, and we're not sure how Laura is remaining blind to Katy's snowballing feelings for her.

EastEnders: For those of you enjoying Dean being back on your screens - rejoice, as you'll be seeing him with his top off this week. He only goes and beds an overly keen Lauren.

When it looks like her relationship is developing with Lee, Whitney throws a spanner in the works.

And given that Dot's being apparently delivered some pretty harrowing news on Friday's episode, one can assume Nick's ourrah the bag.

Irish Independent

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