Tuesday 20 March 2018

Would you believe? Let Valerie tell you

RTE's Valerie Cox.
RTE's Valerie Cox.

The refugee crisis was the subject of Exodus (RTÉ1), a special report from the quasi-religious Would You Believe strand, though it was the absence of divine intervention that got mentioned here.

The reporter was RTÉ's Valerie Cox, whose husband Brian asked her: "Do you ever feel, I'm not saying there's no God, but that he's forsaken a lot of people?"

She had no answer to that and nor had the viewer, though she did declare that "I've never felt more essential or more needed in my life". And certainly, on the Greek islands from which she has sent emotive reports to Sean O'Rourke's radio show, she and Brian have been engaged in more humanitarian work than most of us will ever achieve.

Perhaps this allowed her to say that the Syrian refugee crisis "really is a second Holocaust", though that term, with all its specific connotations, should perhaps be used more carefully.

Still, the film vividly showed why, after going there "on a whim", she and her husband felt they had no alternative but to remain and assist in any way they could.

That's admirable and in humanitarian terms certainly beats the devising of lack-lustre comedy quizzes, the latest of which arrived on home screens this week.

This is called Eureka! The Big Bang Query (RTÉ2) and it features quiz master Neil Delamere and three people on each panel, each of them ostensibly tasked with answering questions about science, though the main purpose seems to be the cracking of lame jokes. If there was a point to any of it, I didn't get it.

But I did get to see the end of Trapped, the Icelandic crime drama that just concluded on BBC4, though it's still running on RTÉ2.

I won't spoil things for RTÉ viewers, beyond saying that it ended as well as it had begun, that it was expertly plotted and paced and that it was excellently performed by an unknown cast.

In other words, Iceland can now be added to the list of chilly northern nations that know how to make first-rate thrillers. RTÉ could learn from them.

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