PHILIP NOLAN MY VIEW
There’s no ignoring it, so here’s to lining up for six weeks of real-life drama
N Thursday, all eyes in the world (except for the US, probably, where most people still see ‘sawker’ as a game for schoolgirls) will be glued to Brazil as football’s biggest carnival kicks off. As it happens, I actually was in Rio de Janeiro (pictured below) for carnival in 1988 and it was one of the most spectacular shows I’ve ever seen, so if the hosts can’t pull off the best opening ceremony ever, I’ll be hugely disappointed.
The weeks and weeks of action begin in São Paulo ( RTÉ 2 , UTV, 7pm), with Brazil taking on Croatia in the first match (RTÉ, rather oddly, is taking a half-hour br e a k t o show another Simpsons repeat just before kick- off ). There’s a lot at stake for the locals and the government must surely be hoping that a good run and maybe even a win in the tournament will banish concerns – and even violent protest – about the cost of staging the World Cup, especially with the Olympics still to come in two years’ time.
For most of us, though, it’s an end to normal life for six weeks. What new players will make a claim to worldwide fame? Who will be the Zidane, ending a stellar career in shame?
It’s as much about the drama as the football skills.
As an appet ite- whet ter, David Beckham Into The Unknown (BBC1, Monday, 8.30pm) looks promising. No, he’s not going to buy his clothes in Penneys – instead, he’s taking a trip into the rainforest to meet remote tribespeople, perhaps the only humans on the planet who won’t know who he is. Oh, well, if he takes off his shirt and flashes his tattoos, they’ll possibly think he’s a walking treasure map. It’s your last chance to catch the Dublin-made animal programme that’s topping polls around the world (among the most viewed series in Belgium and in Thailand, no less). The natural charm of the Dublin Zoo staff as well as its 400-plus animals and award-winning conservation schemes have won hearts around Ireland and abroad. The RTÉ series was created by Moondance Productions and filmed almost entirely on location at the national zoo. It began here in 2011 and was sold to Discovery Animal Planet in the UK in 2012; this week is the last in the current series with keeper Susan O’Brien’s timely visit to Brazil. Highlights so far include footage from minutes after the birth of baby gorilla Kituba two years ago. On Thursday, following the sad passing of four-month-old giraffe Tamu (‘sweet one’ in Swahili), the keepers in the African Plains hear the happy news that Tamu’s mother, Maeve, has given birth to a new calf.