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Sinead Ryan: Please Charlie, no more documentaries, we know what you eat for your breakfast

We've had Charlie Bird up to his knees in the Ganges. We've seen him up to his elbows in snow in the Arctic and over his head in the Amazon. Now it seems he has had it up to his neck in Washington.

One of the most exciting cities in the world during arguably the most exciting year in American politics and Charlie was, well, lonely.

He's going to tell us all about it in a documentary of his life tonight (well, only a year of it, but it will feel like a lifetime). Can't wait.

Apparently he'll talk about how hard it was to settle in America and how he found himself a very small cog in a big wheel after being, well, a big important news-breaking celebrity journalist back home, working with famous people such as George Lee.

At 60 years old, starting a new career abroad where you know nobody but are expected to hit the ground running was always going to be a challenge. The one thing (and possibly the only thing) that matters to an investigative journalist is his little black book. Contacts are vital if you are going to be writing up-to-the-minute news stories and most journos would bite off your hand if you tried to take theirs.

In Washington, Charlie had none. In a city where back-biting, power plays and behind-the-scenes nods and winks matter more than being from a national television station, Charlie found it hard to get his who's who together.

The first gig was easy -- Barack Obama's election victory. Just turn up in Grant Park and hold out the microphone. Film black people in tears of joy. Ditto white people. It's a no-brainer.

Since then, though, we heard little of Charlie. His filed reports appeared sketchy and sporadic. For someone we're used to seeing on our screens daily at home, it seemed slightly adrift over there.

It's never a good idea when the reporter becomes the news, so why we need this documentary is baffling. If RTE wants Charlie as the next Kathryn Thomas -- reporting from hot spots around the world on what the weather/food/travel is like, fine. Somebody should tell Kathryn, though. And he won't look as good in a bikini.

You get the impression that Charlie's documentaries on himself are set to become as prolific as his news stories. This is not good. If he was distracted in the States filming himself at the same time as he might have been covering breaking news, then that is to the viewers' detriment.

He wasn't even there when Michael Jackson died -- the second biggest story of the year. Although he is doing good stuff from Haiti at present, indeed, seeming almost like the old Charlie, following anybody with an Irish accent around, the reports have been solid and interesting -- in that breathless, wait-till-you-hear-this tone that is his trademark.

It would be unfair of us to expect him to be door-stepping Obama all the time, indeed, he'd probably have been arrested by now if he did, but there was a view when he first went out that we'd be drowning in breaking news from America. Scandals would be uncovered, glittering interviews lined up and the dogged Charlie would be gate-crashing every event going. Not so.

He has another year to go before the contract is up. What's for 2011: Charlie -- How I finally Settled In and Then Had To Go Home?

He should come home now. We miss him, sorta.

Charlie: no more documentaries. We know what you eat for breakfast and how you like your eggs at this stage. Your old pal George has moved on to other things: time you did, too.