Wednesday 21 February 2018

A year of fascinating dramas... but also totes nonsense tripe

Made in Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Spencer Matthews pictured at there exclusive VIP Party in Bucks Townhouse.
Made in Chelsea stars Jamie Laing and Spencer Matthews pictured at there exclusive VIP Party in Bucks Townhouse.
Ricky Grevais - Derek

"there is no defence for the existence of these programmes, towie and made in chelsea"


The fact that most of us have so many channels that simply clicking your remote all the way through the listings is enough to give anyone Carpal Tunnel syndrome means that we seem to spend half the time convinced that there's something better on another channel.

Here are some of those programmes that kept us hooked, as well as a few of the ones that made this reviewer want to sharpen his remote control into a shiv and stab himself repeatedly in the eyes with it. And, like all lists it's entirely arbitrary -- and doesn't feature either Breaking Bad or Game Of Thrones, because both deserve full features in themselves. Also, there's no Love/Hate. What's left to say?

If you disagree, or have other suggestions, do get in touch. But it's nearly Christmas -- haven't you better things to do?



Channel 4 seems to divert most of their programming budget to programmes about whose genitals have amusing deformities, but Southcliffe was a searing, hypnotic piece of television. Rory Kinnear is the television news reporter forced to return to the hated village of his youth following a mass shooting by local loner, played by the brilliant Sean Harris, who manages to make his SAS wannabe both pathetic and chilling at the same time.

Kinnear was brilliant as the increasingly furious reporter, trying to control his rage against the village that demonised his family and the collapse of his own marriage.

The shooting scenes are made all the more harrowing by what they don't show, the humiliation visited upon Morton by two of the residents, which proves the final straw for the angry loner, was nearly enough to make a

viewer understand his killing spree. A fine supporting cast featured Eddie Marsan, who would also appear this year in Ray Donovan.

The ending came, however, with a frustrating whimper rather than a bang and what had looked like the single most important drama of the year limped to a disappointingly end.

But for all the complaints about the ending, this was compelling drama that had the courage to demand the attention of the viewer.


Season One of Armando Iannucci's caustic satire of Beltway politics was a little shaky but the second season was an altogether more confident beast.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in her first real success since Seinfeld, is Selina Meyer, the insecure, vain Vice President who hungers for the power with none of the responsibility. Flanked by a support tram featuring the likes of Anna Chlumsky and a post-Arrested Development Tony Hale as her put upon personal assistant.

Veep is more than just an Americanised version of The Thick Of It. It is also a brilliant puncturing of the wordy, verbose style of The West Wing -- a show that begged for mockery if ever there was one.

The episode which sees the team goes to Helsinki for a disastrous State visit remains a highlight.


A million women's dreams may have come true with the news that the not at all bad looking Jamie Dornan is to play Christian Grey, but it was as serial killer Paul Spector in The Fall that he haunted their nightmares.

Gillian Anderson was equally cold as the detective trying to track him down before he brutalises any more women, but with each episode his character became creepier and more careless -- always a dangerous sign in a

charismatic slasher.

The show was criticised by some for somehow glamorising the rape and

murder of young women (what sort of people think that raping and murder are glamorous?) but the main attraction lay in Dornan's dead-eyed degenerate and the warped relationship between him, his wife and his teenage babysitter.

The ending, which sees Spector escape her grasp, sets things nicely for season 2, which starts shooting in February.


You wouldn't expect Ricky Gervais to be able to pluck at the heartstrings but he gives the performance of his career as Derek, the sweet care home worker whose naivety sees him ostracised by the outside world as he, in turn,

embraces the ailing residents is a remarkably pure, beautifully written show that has been wrongly classed as a comedy.

It has some funny moments, but Gervais has managed to create something that

is, in its own way, really quite beautiful.

Who knew he had it in him?



So many contenders, so little time. RTE actually managed to plumb new comedy

lows with Damo And Ivor, a truly obnoxious, dull depiction of two buffoonish stereotypes that managed be boring and offensive at the same

time. Ditto Republic Of Telly.

TV3's The Apprentice is really showing signs of wear and tear. Desperate, cut-throat sharks in suits, all vying with each other for a single job, failed to capture the imagination of a country quite sick of real life sharks in suits. As for the Celebrity version? Well, the talent pool available is a rather shallow one, I suppose.

Few programmes have infuriated the average viewer quite like Homeland,

which started brilliantly but by the second season, had become little more

than a soap opera about a family you didn't care about.

The current season has amped things up but nothing can change the fact that

Claire Danes' Carrie is the single most irritating, irrational, overly emotional and unprofessional female character on television.

Both TOWIE and Made In Chelsea continue to confound anyone with a brain and pollute the English language in equal measure.

There is no defence for the existence of these programmes, nor can there be any reason to tolerate the fact that the 'cast' are free to walk among the rest of as if they were normal. And the phrase 'guilty pleasure' doesn't cover it -- if you watch these shows, which have reduced the language to gibberish grunts such as 'reem' and 'totes' and 'whatevs' then you are simply a terrible, terrible human being. Really, I mean that.

Irish Independent

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