TIM FANNING MY VIEW
Cultural stereotypes in Belfast and a clash of cultures in London...
ustralians watching ( Tuesday, TV3) might have been a little baffled when the show first aired Down Under. This was Ireland alright. There was a guy talking over the opening credits with a consonent-mangling stage-Irish accent, fiddles and bodhráns, and a map showing us where Ireland was in relation to its neighbours. But what was the first shot we saw of the Emerald Isle? A big Union Jack flying over Belfast City Hall.
To make matters even more confusing, after Lyndey cooked up her admittedly tastylooking duck breast with orange madeira sauce in the offices where the Titanic was designed, a graphic of a tricolour popped up beside the caption for the dish. Maybe this was parity of esteem, Oz-style.
There’s a strange kind of narcissism going on when an Australian food and travel show about Ireland is shown on primetime on TV3 but there were still a few bits and pieces of interest, not least the strange sight of Lyndey and her Belfast cabbie guide feasting on baps which she had prepared on the bonnet of his black cab. Alas, Lyndey still had to make the quip about this being the only occasion on which the poor cabbie stopped talking. An altogether more sophisticated series is
(Monday, Channel 4) which promises to step ‘into the social minefield that is 21stcenturydating’. Was there ever an era when dating wasn’t a ‘social minefield’? The first episode featured Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin (a long way from the kind-hearted wife of Robb Stark in Game Of Thrones). Mellor played Dave, a north of England lorry driver making his first foray into online dating and having the misfortune to bump into Chaplin’s beautiful, stuck-up Londoner, Mia. This was a sharply written two-hander (‘You better not be faking this integrity,’ Mia tells Dave, as she gradually thaws from ice queen into insecure young woman), at times hilarious, at times heart-warming.
While each episode tells the story of an original date, as the series progresses, they begin to interwine. It was a cracking opener to a short series that has the potential to grow into something more. Maybe the local disco wasn’t such a minefield after all… From left: MyAnna Buring, Montserrat
Lombard, Julia McKenzie, Pippa Bennett-Warner and
Hermione Norris Julia McKenzie returns as the spinster sleuth in the first of three starry new films – A Caribbean Mystery – which, as the title suggests, finds her transported from St Mary Mead to a lavish hotel on the tropical island of St Honoré (courtesy of her nephew). Here, Miss Marple can’t help noting suspicious behaviour among her jet-setting fellow guests and, sure enough, one of them is soon dead following an evening of exotic food, Planter’s Punch and a specially staged ‘voodoo show’. Miss Marple is convinced there’s been foul play, but the local police chief won’t take her seriously... until there are two more deaths. A classy start to the new series.