Cul­tural stereo­types in Belfast and a clash of cul­tures in Lon­don...

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - YOUR TV WEEK -

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.

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