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Not all plain sailing for three in a boat

Heading out on their fifth adventure together, it was plain on Three Men Go To Ireland that funnymen Dara O'Briain, Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath aren't always delighted with their travelling companions.

Last night, it was Dara who was feeling a little out of step with his fellow boating buddies, aware, as he pointed out, that every time he was asked about our green and pleasant land, he felt the breath of four million fellow Irish people on his neck. The panto Irish accents from the other two weren't helping either.

For his part, Jones pointed out the difficulty he and McGrath were having when it came to having a little fun with their hosts, the Paddy gags coming thin and slow as they teethered on that tightrope between laughing-with and laughing-at the Irish. "Quite difficult to judge, actually," said Jones. "Some things are Irish and alright to be called Irish, and other things are too Irish, or not Irish enough."

If the craic wasn't all it was, eh, cracked up to be, the scenery was spectacular, as our three not-so-intrepid sailors took the waterways from Dublin to Limerick, their destination timed to coincide with the country's biggest poetry festival.

Along the way, they stopped off at various quaint villages, took part in a slow-moving SOD (Shannon One Design) race, and searched for something to go bump in the night at the wonderful Leap Castle in Offaly.

Dara, Griff and Rory make for fine guides, merrily ignorant of many of the places they're visiting, the idea being, I presume, that melding together these three kinda likeable, mildly intelligent guys might just add up to one Michael Palin.

With the face of Mary Coughlan and the brain of Shane MacGowan, it baffles me why it is exactly Catherine Tate's dopey Donna Noble was ever introduced to The Doctor. Ever. Thankfully, in last night's big farewell to David Tennant as the man with the golden Tardis, Doctor Who: The End Of Time Part Two, Tate was little more than a footnote. And even then, she stuck out like a sore thumb. At her own wedding.

It makes you wonder whether Tate's dumb redhead routine on the recent Doctor Who-themed edition of Never Mind The Buzzcocks was a slice of Michael Gambon bewilderment merriment or simply an admission of the comedienne's honest-to-goodness ignorance about the show she's been a part of for the past few years.

Not that such concerns distracted from last night's rousing battle to save the earth from those nasty timelords.

Given that this was the end of Tennant's tenure after four highly successful years the omnipresent BBC darling was allowed a sombre lap of honour before the end credits.

It was all done in the best possible taste. Here's to the next good Doctor. You'll be glad to know that, once again -- as new boy, 27-year old Matt Smith, pointed out -- he isn't ginger.