Irish channels: Curing tv addicts everywhere

Some of my childhood took place during the 80s but to give my parents some credit, the worst deprivation I experienced was that they dressed me in the hideous clothing of the era and took a lot of photos. One thing I always appreciated was that we had cable tv. Some kids I knew had to make do with the terrestrial channels-a mild but heartbreaking form of child abuse in my book. Well folks, my days of being able to flick through hundreds of satellite channels and criticise them for having nothing good on them are over. I now only have the four Irish channels. I don’t even have 3e!

It’s not as bad as it seems. I don’t watch a massive amount of television and only maybe 3/4 shows on a regular basis. But unfortunately, I’ve started to wonder where the licence fee goes.

Thanks to the fact that the Irish stations have accepted that they can’t get by without bought-in American/UK drama, I’m not a complete cultural leper. I still get to watch the same news I always have along with Primetime and the ‘Vincent Browne Evisceration Hour’ or ‘Nightly News’ as it’s formally known.

Some of the ‘homegrown’ stuff is decent- The Clinic, Raw, the new Pat Kenny show, The Frontline, was surprisingly good when I looked at it. Maeve Higgins’ show ‘Fancy Vittles’ is pretty funny. I know he splits opinion but on the rare occasion when I catch the Late Late Show, Ryan Tubridy isn’t bad. Plus, where else will you get your ‘Murder, she wrote’ fix?

That said, the national stations produce some crap altogether. It’s amazing what you can scrape off the bottom of a barrel…nope, it’s not the title of Jason Byrne’s new ‘comedy’ show but it should be. Memo to Jayo. Shouting=not actually comedy. As for the makers of ‘Sarah and Steve’ AKA ‘Dan and Becs go to Tallaght’, they should remember that lightning never strikes twice. Well, outside of funding applications to RTÉ that is.

Fair City still seems to be a soap made by a well-meaning but mediocre amateur dramatic society. Let’s face it; The afternoon Show is no ‘Live at 3′ and you wouldn’t get Derek Davis bullying Sheana Keane.

Baz Ashmawy. I just don’t get the attraction there. And don’t get me started on ‘Exposé’…(loaded silence).

I caught the tail end of an episode of the Irish ‘Apprentice’ on TV3 on Monday. The show seemed interesting but the post morterm offering, ‘The Apprentice; You’re fired!’ was awful. I can’t stand Brendan O’Connor. He was mean to the poor sap who got fired as well as making some really nasty comments about contestants and his own panel. He’s conjured up a media career out of no talent bar the ability to be a complete prick. I sometimes feel like congratulating him but fear if I got too close, I’d change my mind and punch him instead.

I think I’ll write to RTÉ asking for an itemised reciept as to what they spend the licence money on. There’s plenty of good stuff but I’m pretty sure a sizeable chunk goes on paying some of its ‘personalities’ higher salaries than Barack Obama, which is just insane.

One thing that gave me a good laugh this week was the Top 10 most imaginative excuses that Britons gave for not paying their tv licence. Myy favourite is the last one.

1. “A pigeon fell down the chimney and broke the aerial so I have bad reception.”
2. “My 11-year-old son must have bought the TV during the night. It wasn’t there when I went to bed.”
3. “My payment card’s been stuck in the washing machine so I can’t pay.”
4. “I’ve not paid due to my shop only accepting £5 and £10 notes and I haven’t got any of those.”
5. “I’ve not been making payments as a baby magpie flew into my house and I had to stay in and feed it until it was ok.”
6. “I only use the TV to keep the horses company and one of them is blind so I should only pay half if I have to pay at all.”
7. “I can’t get the TV out of the box – can you help me?”
8. “My dog watches it when I’m at work to keep him company – not me.”
9. “My mum told me to tell you she’s not in.”
10. “I’ve not bought a licence as I dreamt I didn’t have to and the saying is you’ve to follow your dreams.”

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