Thursday 19 September 2019

Weatherpeople on Miriam send isobars of dread down the spine

Everywhere you go always take the weatherpeople with you.
Everywhere you go always take the weatherpeople with you.

By david looby

SOMETHING stranger than usual occurred on RTE's flagship Saturday night with Miriam O'Callaghan show.

There were three weatherpeople, all single, sitting on the cosy couch opposite her, talking innane bunk about the weather and their lives.

Meteorologists Gerry Murphy and Siobhan Ryan, and fellow weather presenter Nuala Carey, were on hawking themselves as 'single and fabulous'. In a stroke of genius by the creatives in our national broadcaster they were on to coincide with a week could boast 'the hottest day of the year so far' claim, the previous Tuesday.

The hotness of it all!

In a show which has all the vitality of 3 a.m. at Maddem Tussauds, O'Callaghan looked on, in a forced wide-eyed way, as Murphy described how 'single and fabulous' he is.

Never missing a beat, Miriam O'Callaghan told him that her taxi driver had already been making enquiries about him.

'The taxi driver on the way in was saying, my daughter's always asking if that fella Gerry is single or not,' she told him in caressing tones. Carey muttered something about liking warm, sunny weather. She laughed that the weather itself is their problem. 'Well you see we sit around and talk about the weather all the time, that's the problem probably.'

On the defensive, no doubt from years of being a conduit for bad news, the presenter chuckled along throughout the show.

Siobhán Ryan, a Trinity College graduate who said her first memory was being caught in a bad storm in Cork, also had little of interest to say.

It was another terrible Saturday night's viewing on RTE, which lost €2.8m in 2015.

Trotting out good shows like Love/Hate every now and again just isn't enough to warrant a €160 licence fee. Irish people's hands and necks are wrecked from gazing at their smartphones in boredom while watching RTE on Saturday nights.

Communcations minister Denis Naughten thinks he has the answer. He is planning new legislation that would force Sky, Virgin and Eir to pay for its programmes. Money before imagination every time.

It says something when the best of RTE's programmes all hark back or are from the misty past. Think Fr Ted and Reeling in the Years. Prime Time delivers and some excellent investigative programmes have been made.

The problem is a lack of imagination. It's the same guests recycled across different RTE media all of the time. Airing The People Versus OJ Simpson months after it had already been on a British channel shows RTE is lacking a competitive edge. If they want us to watch it they'll need to get competitive because I don't if Sky or Virgin or anyone will be bothered paying retransmission fees to solve the deficit. What next for the Miriam show? Flash some random member of staff's mobile number across the screen with a provocative pic to get a date for them? It's like local authority Christmas party night with a bit of va va voom for the comatose viewers struggling to stay awake on the sofa. And I've nothing against Miriam, who is a good communicator and interviewer, but the format is so staid. Just like RTE morning or lunchtime news.

Not exactly something to get you fired up for the day. It just looks unprofessional and lackluster. The Americans get it right as the presenters at least look interested and excited about life. There is no shrugging of shoulders and flicking of pens. Rant over!

Wexford People