Thursday, 17 May 2012

Let's start this with Mrs. O'Brien

Here, welcome to the blog. It's basically continuing from Matthew Coniam's sadly defunct blog, Eccentrica Britannica. I'm Irish, I'm sixteen and I'll be reviewing British pop culture and some Irish culture.

Does anyone remember Leave it to Mrs. O’Brien?

It’s Ironic I start this blog about British culture with an article on Irish TV! I live in Ireland, but through my good friend Matthew Coniam, he told me of his childhood recollections of a show on Channel 4, lunchtime filler from Ireland, a sitcom called Leave It to Mrs. O’Brien starring Anna Manahan (My Mammy, Clash of the Titans) as a Dublin housekeeper looking after some priests. Although it may sound like Father Ted, trust me, it ain’t. Written by a Dublin housewife, it is extremely rare and has never been released on DVD or video. It was shown on RTE Two from 1984 to 1986 at primetime, and was heavily criticised. I have never seen it, apart from a few clips that show why it hasn’t been repeated. It’s not very good. It is barely a comedy. RTE are much criticised in Ireland for comedy. Even Manahan, a stage legend and marvellous actress has trouble with the amateurish scripts. In the clips that I have seen, she can convey the eccentricities of the character in a big coat, but is clearly not helped by the ‘talents’ of fellow actors Pat Daly and Philip O’Sullivan. Humour seems to derive from someone singing badly or people sitting about, going mad. It at times resembles a Play for Today, a serious, tough ultra-dramatic thing about the doubts of Dublin priests in hiring an incompetent housekeeper. RTE did other series like Upwardly Mobile and the ridiculous Extra, Extra Read All About It (marketed as a drama, but with silly wigs and dancing in a newspaper office to the Sailor’s Hornpipe, not even the addition of acclaimed actor Norman Rodway from Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight could not save it), all of which were rubbish. Now, there are more comedies on RTE, but I shall speak of them later.


  1. Ah, nice to finally find out what this programme actually was. Strange to think it was peak-time stuff over there. I can't really remember it (it was on ITV, by the way, before C4 started) but I do know my mother and I both enjoyed it at the time. A little later we were watching the version of A Tale of Two Cities with Peter Cushing in it and both recognised the old crone knitting by the guillotine: "It's Mrs O'Brien!"

  2. Yes, RTE are very strange. They show what is effectively filler in big slots. Property shows on primetime, as well as the charades charade Play the Game, and you have to see their game shows!

    The Big Money Game is one of the most inane programs (a big Sat night gameshow,the slot is, ie Big Big stupid kid Movie, Lottery game show, news and neanderthal Brendan O'Connor Sat Night show and Mrs. Brown's Boys, a sitcom shown on BBC 1 a few months ago, and also the Money Game'x host, gay Derek Mooney known for his inane farewell "Byyyeeeeee!" once called my dad's foul, fat cousin who once hit me for looking at her grandson's video shelf (where there were just a few kids films), causing mum to fall out with her, well he called Doreen McClafferty beautfiul. None of the McClaffertys are beautiful. The brother is a gay bear who dates a Romanian chef, and I swear they are vampires.