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Love it or Hate it, there's no escape

THE Love/Hate hype machine has already started rolling, even if the cameras haven't. Nobody will be shouting "Action!" – if anybody actually shouts that on film sets anymore – until Tuesday, but the teasers are already flying around like confetti in a wind machine.

And it's only going to get worse.

Between now and the autumn, when the fifth season of Stuart Carolan's gangland drama goes out on RTE1, we can expect near-daily updates on every little sliver of trivial guff that leaks out, either by accident or design, from the production.


In the last week or so, we've learned that cast member Mary Murray, who plays brothel-keeper Janet, was "relieved to finally receive the top-secret storylines so she can start rehearsing her lines".

Phew! I can sleep soundly again.

Had nobody told her before then that she'd be in season five, or does Carolan, like David Moyes, not reveal his team selection until just before kick-off?

And as for "top-secret storylines" – every drama keeps its future plots closely guarded.

Among the other exciting non-revelations was the news that a main character is going to be killed off this year.

Who could possibly have seen that coming? Just about everyone, I imagine, since sudden, violent death is something you'd associate with a drama about criminals.

It's not as if Love/Hate hasn't got rid of major figures before now.

By the end of season three, its two original lead characters, gang boss John Boy (Aidan Gillen) and foot soldier Darren (Robert Sheehan), had bitten the dust, while numerous lesser character casualties along the way.

The danger of all this relentless publicity is that people will simply get fed up hearing about Love/Hate.

I know I'm sick to death of it already. More worryingly, it runs the risk of building expectations up so high that when season five eventually reaches our screens, viewers will be disappointed.


This is precisely what happened last year, when Love/H ate mania ran out of control.

Throngs of onlookers and autograph-hunters haunted the location filming on the streets of Dublin.

Every time someone in the cast so much as belched, it made the papers. We were continually being promised that season four would be the best ever.

We all know how that panned out. The only real point of interest to emerge from the current blizzard of hype is the confirmation that there's going to be a sixth series of Love/Hate. Many of us assumed, based on the noises coming out of RTE last year, that the next one would be the last. For all its shortcomings, season four maintained the trajectory of a story heading towards the final act.

But it seems Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), last seen in a jail cell, roaring like a crazed animal, will be heading to Costa del Crime in Spain.

You can't blame RTE for wanting to squeeze every last drop from the most successful and, bar last season's rocky patch, most critically acclaimed drama it's ever had. Any of the British or American channels would do exactly the same thing in that situation.

But it's worth noting that the two best dramas of the year – both of them crime stories, as it happens – have squeezed complex plots into short, tight, self-contained seasons. True Detective runs for eight episodes, Line of Duty for just six.

Like everyone else, I'm hoping season five of Love/Hate really will be the best ever. In the meantime, everyone involved would do well to follow the advice of Nidge: keep the head down and the trap shut, right?

Snakes alive: If you remember Robert Rodriguez's 1996 vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn at all, it's most likely for Salma Hayek and her snake, rather than for George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (who also wrote it) as bank-robbing brothers who stumble into a strip club full of vampires.

There's no Salma in the 10-part series version, the first instalment of which has just landed on Netflix, although there is Eiza Gonzalez (pictured), who assumes Salma's old reptile-wrangling duties.

Alas, since this is an expanded remake of the movie, I assume it'll be a few weeks before the brothers so much as reach the club.

Even a TV critic's life is too short for some things.

Watch this space: Since I'm a lifelong sucker for anything to do with space travel, Channel 4's Live from Space season has been a treat.

Tomorrow night's big finale is Lap of the Planet, a two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston, Texas.

But will it answer the question on every viewer's lips: just how do you take a poo in zero gravity?

the bum's rush: First Jeremy Clarkson slags Piers Morgan off in front of Top Gear guest Aaron Paul, then comedian Chelsea Handler lays into him on his CNN show for texting during the break and being "a terrible interviewer" (see YouTube).

Between this and Morgan's mate Simon Cowell getting the bum's rush from American TV, it's been a good few weeks.