09 January 2008

Why, that's delightful!

Contrary to what far too many of my friends tend to assume, I don't watch much television. No, not even now, with my life lacking even a semblance of structure. And no, I didn't when I was small either -- I just have perversely clear memories of that fairly insignificant facet of my childhood.

Anyway, last night saw me doing something I never do: settling down, tea beside me, in the frontroom to ensure I'd not be interrupted, to watch a programme I'd picked out from the RTE Guide a few days earlier. I can't remember the last time I did that.

Anyway, I'm glad I settled in when I did, as the programme, directed by Adrian McCarthy as part of RTE's Art Lives series, was an absolutely superb documentary about Graham Linehan. Really, it was a superlative piece of television, the kind of thing that anyone interested in the craft of comedy or indeed the creative mind should have made a point of watching. With choice interviews and quotes from all the right people, and without an ounce of flab, yet somehow being so spare that the programme couldn't breathe, I'd comfortable rank it as one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time. I couldn't help but think of loads of my Mancunian mates would have loved it, and indeed texted one to tell her so.

Linehan's commentaries on the Father Ted dvd's are pretty much a comedy masterclass anyway, but somehow this documentary opened them out further, in terms of showing how the creative fusion between Linehan and Arthur Matthews had worked on Ted, and also in terms of going some way to answering that question all creative types dread: 'where do you get your ideas?'

Incidentally, I was delighted to discover today that Linehan keeps a blog, on which I'm glad to see that he decided to flag the greatness of London's best comic shop on his New Year's Day post. That'll be one for the sidebar, methinks.

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