TIM FANNING MY VIEW
The battle of the early risers begins, as RTÉ launches a new morning programme
Two pieces of good news this week. The first is that Keelin Shanley is to host a new show entitled Morning Edition on RTÉ One beginning at 9am tomorrow. According to RTÉ, the twohour programme will be a ‘mix of news, sport, business, topical discussion and entertainment’. It seems a brave decision to pitch a news-heavy show against TV3’s Ireland AM and 3e’s Morning Show in a mid-morning slot. For news junkies, it’s a good fit, as it begins just after Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio One and before Pat Kenny, though there will be an hour’s overlap with Kenny. The choice of Shanley to front RTÉ’s first foray into breakfast television is quite encouraging; it shows a willingness to try something different to what TV3 are currently doing. Of course, if the ratings are poor, there’s always room to shift away from news to a more featurebased magazine show. Time will tell.
The second bit of good news is that a four- part drama about 007 creator Ian Fleming has been announced. The Sky Atlantic/ BBC America co-production is to star Dominic Cooper in the lead role. The heavy-drinking, womanising Fleming was in many respects a real-life James Bond. After being booted out of Eton, ostensibly because of his fondness for the opposite sex, he considered a banking career before being drafted into naval intelligence. But while he directed undercover operations during the Second World War, he didn’t spend any time at the front – perhaps part of the reason why he projected his own desires onto his famous literary creation.
Fleming worked as a journalist after the war, before embarking on his successful career as an author. A heavy smoker and drinker, Fleming died aged 56. Bond, on the other hand, is celebrating his 60th birthday this year. Casino Royale, the first novel to feature 007, was published in 1953. A large part of the world – not least the corporate version – never seems to tire of Bond (especially whoever’s responsible for RTÉ Two’s weekend schedules). So it’s fitting that the real-life tale of his largerthan-life creator will be arriving on our screens on a significant anniversary. Though he’s most definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, the manic Hector Ó hEochagáin (above with Ger Loughnane) certainly manages to exude buckets of enthusiasm for the subjects he’s addressing. In the latest episode of this series focusing on some colourful and controversial Irish subjects (so far, we’ve had the Catholic Church, Travellers and country music), he looks at why some of us tend to hunt as a pastime. An integral part of rural life to some, a cruel and barbaric practice to others, hunting tends to provoke strong emotions in most Irish people. So Hector climbs into his camper van, on a road trip that takes him from Wicklow to Limerick, to discover what it is that makes people want to chase down or shoot wild animals in their spare time. The question is: will Hector end up on the side of the hound or the fox?