Tuesday 20 March 2018

There's no drama like a teen refusing mum's advice

TELEVISION It falls to reality TV to fill the gap left by a lack of good dramas, writes Carol Hunt

Jack Taylor: The Guards (TV3)
Glamour Models: Mum and Me (BBC3)

Carol Hunt

If you visited Galway City for the Arts Festival, The Races, The Oyster Festival or any one of its myriad summer celebrations, you may have been surprised at the depiction of this charming medieval city in last Monday's TV3 drama pilot Jack Taylor: The Guards.

This is the Galway of Ken Bruen's iconic, unemployed ex-policeman, Jack Taylor; a dark, dreary, drink-sodden and dangerous place with the fast-swirling death trap that is the Corrib River as its centrepiece -- a place of damp suffocation where the eponymous anti-hero investigates a spate of supposed suicide drownings.

Galway-based film company Magma Productions have signed a deal for the rights of the full series of the Jack Taylor novels to be shown on TV3.

For that TV3 can only be applauded. With no licence fee and a recessionary drop in advertisers, the station seems to be run on a shoestring that makes its support of the Irish film industry even more laudable.

The pilot itself was a bit of a curate's egg. Then again, going from page to screen inevitably involves character and plot sacrifices that the book fan may find hard to stomach.

From my reading of Breun's novels, Taylor is a contradictory mix of darkness, danger and do-gooderism; an unpredictable alcoholic with a closet full of hang-ups masked by a self-destructive charm. And Scottish actor Iain Glen in the title role just didn't tick these boxes -- shame that original pick Dominic West didn't pan out. (I hasten to add, that is a purely personal opinion as the other half thought him perfectly adequate).

Nor did it help that his accent ran the gamut of the British Isles (or North-West Archipelago as we are supposed to call them in these pc times). He would have been better off sticking to his original Scots burr.

His supporting cast though, in the main, were rather terrific, particularly Irish actresses Tara Breathnach and Nora-Jane Noone. For me though, Galway's Paraic Breathnach as the hard-bitten, chain-smoking local priest stole the show. Co-financed by German broadcaster RTL, Richard Price TV Associates, The Media Fund and Magma Productions Ireland, Jack Taylor is without doubt the best homegrown offering to appear on Irish screens this summer. Strange that RTE didn't get in there first.

While decent TV dramas seem to be thin on the ground in these warm, lazy, halcyon days of summer (humour me), the reality show is the gift that just keeps on giving.

We all know that teenagers are stubborn little horrors with absolutely no appreciation for the good advice patiently dished out to them by their elders, and 14-year-old Georgia Douvall is no different. When her charming, hard-working single mum (Alicia) gives her little darling advice, sulky Georgia does what every teenager worth their hormones does -- she ignores her completely and continues mulishly down her own determined path.

And Mum's advice?

Leave school as soon as possible (Georgia's at a posh boarding school she appears to love) because, as every wealthy self-respecting glamour model knows, what good has education ever done for anybody? She also advises Georgia to become a topless model as soon as possible, because that's what will give her the edge over all those other prudish girls who refuse to get their tits out for the lads. A boob job is also mandatory when Georgia hits 16. As Mum says: "Remember, you've got to fake it to make it."

And little Georgia's response to all this sterling advice? The ungrateful tyke wants to go to university, become a serious actress and insists she will never, ever have any type of plastic surgery.

When Mum wants her to visit model agencies, Georgia wants to do her homework. Which will do nothing toward getting her in the tabloids for having a affair with a footballer (as Mum reportedly did with John Terry). She doesn't seem a bit grateful when Mum drags her to LA and makes her miss school while she (Mum) recovers from yet another botched boob job. Silly Georgia!

What that obstinate child needs is a month or two in rain-sodden Galway. Yes, that'll soon learn her ...

Declan Lynch is on holidays

Sunday Independent

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment