Author Archive | Dan McGinn

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Mission Not Quite Accomplished

Just hours before the airing of the second episode of ‘Derry Girls’, writer Lisa McGee had great cause for celebration. Channel 4 announced it had commissioned a second series of the 1990s convent school sitcom. After the enthusiastic response to the opening episode, hopes were high that the show would deliver on its initial promise. more…

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Here Come The Girls

  Does anyone remember The Fitz? No? It was a BBC2 sitcom written by the acclaimed Co Tyrone stand-up Owen O’Neill about an unhinged family living along the border. No? It aired in 2000 and had a cast that included Eamon Morrissey, Bronagh Gallagher, Deirdre O’Kane, Ruth McCabe, Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny. Still nothing? more…

Long Day’s Journey Into the Light

Dramatising history is always difficult – especially recent history. But dramatising history – particularly recent history in Northern Ireland – can be a bit of a minefield if you have to compress it into a 90 minute film. Director Nick Hamm and writer Colin Bateman are under no illusions that their movie ‘The Journey’ about Dr more…

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“Waltzing together in time”

Episode four of ITV’s ‘The Secret’ saw Colin Howell and Hazel Stewart (formerly Buchanan) tossed about in a sea of emotions. In the previous three weeks, we had seen the plot to murder their respective spouses hatched, the murders gruesomely recreated and the gradual drifting apart of the lovers as they seemed to get away more…

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“Nobody ever gets away with murder”

Three weeks into ITV’s Colin Howell drama ‘The Secret’ and it is now the source of political controversy. Earlier this week, director Nick Murphy and writer Stuart Urban’s adaptation of journalist Deric Henderson’s book on the murders of Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan was raised by Labour MP Louise Haigh during Prime Minister’s Questions. And more…

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“Nobody is going to catch us”

The second episode of ‘The Secret’, ITV’s drama about the killer Colin Howell was always going to be a difficult watch. But tonight’s episode was at times almost unbearable. Having discussed the possibility of murdering their respective spouses in Episode One, tonight’s episode saw James Nesbitt’s Colin Howell and Genevieve O’Reilly’s Hazel Buchanan go about more…

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“A MINORITY WITHIN A MINORITY”

The verdict was never really in doubt. However there was plenty of food for thought in tonight’s final instalment of TV3’s1916 drama experiment ‘Trial of the Century’. For the past two nights, viewers had watched a dramatic interpretation of the trial Padraig Pearse might have faced, had the British authorities not opted to court martial more…

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“AN IDEA WORTH REMEMBERING”

Episode two of TV3’s 1916 experimental drama ‘Trial of the Century’ saw Padraig Pearse launch his defence. Tom Vaughan Lawlor’s Pearse was beckoned to leave the dock and address the jury from the bench by David Heap’s Judge Bonham. Pearse began by telling the jurors he wished to talk to them about an “island nation” more…

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“THIS ISN’T PERSONAL. IT’S POLITICAL.”

The notion of a writer rewriting history isn’t particularly new. Robert Harris’ ‘Fatherland’ famously imagined what Berlin in 1964 would have been like if the Nazis had won the Second World War. However it takes a brave or foolish writer to rewrite Irish history. But that is exactly what Hugh Travers has done for the more…

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REJOICE NOT IN THE INIQUITY

OK. So before I review the Colin Howell drama ‘The Secret’, which aired on ITV tonight, I have a confession to make. I have more than one connection to this programme. Deric Henderson, the journalist who wrote the book ‘Let This Be Our Secret’ on which ‘The Secret’ is based, was my boss for nine more…

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WALL COMES TUMBLING DOWN

The final episode of ‘Rebellion’ on RTE1 was not surprisingly a mournful affair as characters awaited execution, languished in Kilmainham Jail or tried to avoid capture. At the start of the episode, Steve Wall – best known to my generation as the lead singer of The Stunning – burst through the doors of the home more…

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FACING THE MUSIC

The penultimate episode of RTE’s 1916 miniseries ‘Rebellion’ began with surrender. Driven out of the ruins of the GPO, the leaders of the Easter Rising waved a white flag and marched through the streets of Dublin with Charlie Murphy’s Irish Citizens Army volunteer Elizabeth Butler and her comrade Brian Gleeson’s Jimmy Mahon among their ranks. more…

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THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?

“Ballsbridge is like the Western front,” Ian McElhinney’s Edward Butler declared as RTE’s 1916 miniseries ‘Rebellion’ concentrated on the third day of the Rising. There were plenty of bullets whizzing about in the third episode of director Aku Louhimies and writer Colin Teevan’s miniseries, starting with a British firing squad shooting a rebel. Barry Ward’s more…

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LIE BACK AND THINK OF IRELAND

Film reviewer Dan McGinn casts his eye over the second episode of RTE’s Rebellion which after a strong start last week “is beginning to look little more than a period soap opera”.

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Sisters In Arms

RTE REBELLION – Brothers on opposite sides of history … but where it really scores is its interest in the women involved in the Rising.

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Franks Underlings #HouseOfCards

For three seasons, ‘House of Cards’ has been the flagship drama for a new method of consuming television.Developed and produced for Netflix by former Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean staffer Beau Willimon, it has broken new ground for the web based TV service – landing Emmy nominations and also Golden Globes for its stars Kevin more…

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THE IRISH QUESTION – a review of ‘The Walworth Farce’

The critic Terry Eagleton once observed that Irish fiction was “full of guilty secrets, divided identities. It is no wonder that there is such a rich tradition of Gothic writing in a nation so haunted by history”. If Eagleton were looking for a prime example, he could always cite ‘The Walworth Farce’ – Enda Walsh’s more…

The Cod Father

“What about Mrs Thatcher?” These were the words uttered by Charles McHallen’s Fr Alec Reid in the final episode of ‘Charlie’ tonight when Aiden Gillen’s Taoiseach signalled he was willing to open up dialogue with the Republican Movement. However it was also the question that bedevilled ‘Charlie’ throughout its three episode run on RTE1. Haughey’s more…

Number Twos – the clue’s in the title

People in Northern Ireland like to blow their trumpet about our mischievous black sense of humour. But what do you if that trumpet sounds suspiciously like a kazoo? That was the question some people must have been asking after the opening episode of BBC Northern Ireland’s sitcom ‘Number Twos’ from the Hole in the Wall more…

Il est #Charlie

Tonight the second in a three part mini series on RTE about former Taoiseach Charles Haughey hit the screens. Local film critic, Dan McGinn, reviews part two. Seconds out, round two. The second episode of RTE1’s much hyped mini series ‘Charlie’ did away with last week’s pompous Oliver Stone contextual preamble. However it remained a more…