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Pat Stacey: RTE learns that ignorance isn't bliss when it comes to film

It was a case of lights, camera but not very much action for RTE2's ill-fated The Movie Show, which was pulled off air after just seven weeks and probably won't be coming back. The programme, presented by Eoghan McDermott and Mairead Farrell, started on November 1 last and was slated to run for 16 weeks, but failed to return after the Christmas break.

RTE said it had been "suspended" for now, in the hope that an improved format can be found -- although judging by the dismal ratings, it appears most viewers won't be unduly upset if they never see it again. I know I won't.

The Movie Show's poor performance was initially blamed on a badly chosen timeslot. It was scheduled to run against the ratings-chewing monster of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here on TV3 and ITV1, which is a bit like sending a hare out to wave a white flag at a pit bull terrier.

Yet even when it was shifted to a more favourable position, the audience still failed to show up.

Amid RTE's fudging about timeslots and formats, it doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that a film show fronted by two people who appear to have no conspicuous interest in or passion for movies, and seemed to be making a virtue of their ignorance, is perhaps not what viewers were looking for.

Speaking to this newspaper when The Movie Show first came on air, McDermott, a former children's TV presenter currently to be seen on The Voice of Ireland, said he and Farrell had no plans to "sit in a room and wax lyrical about films".

"We don't do that. I think film buffs will hate it [he called that one right], but we've gone for the Joe Soaps' opinion."

Meanwhile, Farrell -- already grievously overexposed through her appearances on The Panel, The Craig Doyle Show, Celebrity Bainisteoir, The Podge and Rodge Show and numerous other offerings my psyche has forcibly deleted from my memory banks -- offered the following insightful nugget: "I'm just like a normal punter, going to the movies and giving my opinion on them."

And let's not overlook the programme's three 'reporters': stylist Angela Scanlon, children's TV presenter Rob Ross and model Danielle Moyes.

It's hardly a surprise that viewers weren't keen having this lot recommend what movies they should see at their local multi-plex. Frankly, I wouldn't trust a single one of them to direct me to the nearest bank machine.

Making a good movie review show is hardly rocket science.

What's most important is getting a host who knows, loves and understands movies, has a bit of knowledge about cinema history (asking prospective candidates to name three Alfred Hitchcocks other than Psycho wouldn't be a bad start), and can express their opinions intelligently and articulately.

Actually, RTE has someone that fits that bill.

His name is Dave Fanning and for eight years he presented a progamme called, believe it or not, The Movie Show, until RTE axed it in 2001 for no other reason than to save a few bob.

I imagine he'd be interested.

too old for big bang? I'm in trouble. I love Kaley Cuoco (pictured right) from The Big Bang Theory. In fact, I love everyone in it. It's my favourite sitcom. Problem is, I turned 50 last year and they're a lot younger.

According to UK television researchers, who love putting viewers into little boxes, the most popular series with 60-year-olds is the soft- centred Last Tango in Paradise. Does that mean I've got just 10 lousy years before I have to start wearing polyester slacks up to my nipples and buying Last of the Summer Wine boxsets?


You're a star, Aengus

"YouTube sensation" is an overused phrase but it's completely justified in the case of RTE newsreader Aengus Mac Grianna's on-air make-up malfunction, which has received hundreds of thousands of hits.

While Aengus might have been a little red-faced at first, the gaffe has also introduced him to a global television audience. First Jimmy Kimmel showed the clip on his live ABC chat show, jokily awarding Aengus -- or "Angus McGrinna" as he called him -- that night's 'Excellence in Reporting' award.

Then CNN's Anderson Cooper devoted a full four minutes to Aengus on his show Anderson Cooper 360, where he empathised with "our favourite Irish newsreader" and graciously showed a few of his own on-air screw-ups.

Maybe Aengus should keep one eye trained across the Atlantic.

Who knows, one day Cooper may need a stand-in for a couple of weeks. If CNN could hire Piers Morgan, they'd surely have room for our boy Aengus.


So-good-it's-bad tv myth

A friend of mine tuned in to the first episode of TV3's abysmal Deception in the hope it might provide a few unintentional laughs. It didn't. He lasted 12 minutes before boredom kicked in. People are forever talking about television that's "so bad it's good". In all my years writing about television, I've never once seen such a thing. Crap TV is usually just crap TV.

I reckon the so-bad-it's-good concept is a myth fuelled by the 1990s craze for post- modern irony. Don't believe me? Twelve minutes of Deception should cure that.