Bullykisxs'unge/ is a whimsical new comedy drama about a young English priest posted to a tight-knit rural parish in southern Ireland. Eddie Gibb spoke to its creator — former Tomorrow ’5' World presenter Kieran Prendivillc.
It could haye been one of those iokey items from 'limmrmu is it'nrhi that sounds like a legspull but was deliyered with such deadly earnestness by Raymond , Baxter that it had to be true; a Catholic confessional box titted with a fax machine. would you believe? In fact this central metaphor for progress in the charming new comedy drama [iti/lykissu/rgeI was ctrlled from a report in a Sunday newspaper about an Italian trade fair for Papal paraphernalia.
Series creator Kieran Prendiyille came from the last generation of presenters of the popular science show before it went really populist and stopped being transtnitted Me That ruled otrt much of the fun. as demonstrations which had worked eyery time in rehearsals suddenly refused to co-operate on air. ‘y'liehael Rod. Judith Harm. Maggie Philbin — those were his contemporaries. Although the live transmission was a proud boast of 'Ibmormufr World producers. it terriled Prendiy'ille. ‘l was talking about something I knew nothing about — science.‘ he says. ‘There was a long tradition of that on the programtne.‘
Then Prendiville — a former 'I'lrul's Life and
Ballykissangel: Father Clifford takes on the locals
Miliomrir/e presenter left the show and lactual television altogether to pursue a new career as a screenwriter. He cut his teeth on episodes of lino/i and The [ti/l before creating his first series. the oil
‘Most drama producers have images of people they see on TV and the reaction when I started trying to write was that I was that cheeky chappie presenter.’
rig drama Rong/urecks. Did his 'l‘\’ pedigree giye him a foot in the door? ‘No. quite the reyersef he says. ‘Most drama producers have images of people they see on TV and the reaction when I started trying to write was that l was that cheeky chappie presenter.‘
\Vith [iii/lilc."yam/reel. l’rendiy ille is returning to the
V land of his father ~\lthough he '. isus the Republic
lig'lliltl'i} to see iallrli‘y. l’t'etrdly ills was .rc-tunily lit‘tlgfld up w is‘v-qlidale and \-.as :r-uurztu's ol ins
' s-.'.lus as .u‘. -l'.ll‘-Iti\‘l. 7» "et round tltal l""=lilen., Il'c
central i.ll;itrr.‘lcr. Father ( 'iilltud. l . a _\.lllll‘.3 litiehsii
priest w ho is assignetz to a thinly populated parish in . rural lrcland. 'l he joke is that the incoruer lroiu the mainland is w tong-footed by the progressrye elements within the \rllage.
"l‘his is a fantasy \ illage.‘ says llrendiyille. ‘lt would be presumptious of me to try to write a
realistic aims of rural Ireland. lint il‘you can hurt“
this place being diseoyered by a young linglish priest
their it seems to rue that it‘s not presuinptions to write r lroui an outsider ‘s y iew. In some ways it's a collision : between peoples idea of lilc in rural Ireland and what it‘s actually like. l’eoplc don‘t go around tlollrug their caps at the local priest. Rupert Murdoch speaks to as many people as the Pope and every second pub has a satellite dish
l'nlikc Jinnuy .\lc(ioyern's NUS lilni I’l'u'sl. which loaded up a young priest with doubts about
I eyer'ything lrorn lrornosesuality to child abuse.
: Ital/\‘A/spsinr13c! has a lighter take on the internal tonllicts within the ('athohc church, It‘s not quite as lhppant as ('hannel ~l's sitcom Iitl/lt’l‘ '/i (l. howcyer'.
3 and l’rendiy'ille hopes the series w ill be occasionally
‘l'm well aware of the pressures on the (‘hurch and how much lrclaud is changing. and particularly rural lreland.~ says l’rendiyille. 'l guess the church might hayc thought that they ‘d lost Dublin but out there in t the country- w'e'ye still got them the rash olistor'ies‘ exposing certain clergyiuen did them no good whatsoey er. But I don't think you'll find Father ('lifl'ord abusing young boy s,‘
The first episode sets up an abrasiyc relationship between the new priest and the pretty pub landlady which is shaping tip to a sort of loy'e‘hale thing. llowey'cr lr’ri/lrklsstored has already been recouuuissioned for a second series which suggests any fall from grace by Father ('lifl'ord will not be so i serious as to require a hasty return to lingland.
I Iiir/ly'kls‘sdlree! starts on Sun // l’t'li on lllr’t '/.
American football used to be held in reserve for those wintry afternoons when World 0! Sports racing coverage was lost beneath several inches of snow. Dickie Davis would chummily mention that each team had a chap called a quarterback, who was actually allowed to throw the ball forward! Then there would be live minutes worth of contusing highlights trom some sunny stadium in California, before a commercial break and skiing trom Bannisch.
Then in the early 805 Channel 4 started to broadcast NFL games and
suddenly there are live telecasts from ' ' x " .. ‘ NBA basketball: overpaid and over
the Superbowl, and we’ve all became
5 such a great quarterback.
intimately acquainted with the finer t points of the run and shoot defence i and what exactly makes Dion Sanders
2 Now Channel 4 is set to try and work ! the same minority sports magic on American pro-basketball: the NBA f league is coming to a television l screen near you. By the middle of 3 June, when the basketball season l ends with the best-of-seven NBA 13' 2- ! finals, Channel 4 hopes we will all be i rooting for the Bulls or the Rockets, or g i one of the other 29 teams that I together comprise the NBA. l Chrysalis, the production company 2 who brought Italian soccer’s Serie A l into our front rooms, is also in charge l at the basketball coverage. The l company plans a series of shows each i ’ week: on Sunday mornings we can - wake up to 3 highlights show NBA Raw; late-night Wednesdays it’s the week’s top game and then on
' Thursdays a magazine show 24-7fills in the blanks.
The pro-publicity emphasises the NBA’s supposed ‘street’ credentials, with the trailers borrowing from Afro- American slang to underline the game’s hard-edged, masculine appeal. But of course there’s a sad irony in the easy association that‘s made between the street and the glamour of professional basketball. While players like Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley rake in tens of millions of dollars every year, ordinary black Americans have to put up with the inner city’s mean streets, where young men stand a tar bigger chance of taking a bullet than shooting hoops to stardom. (John Richardson)
5 NBA ﬂaw starts the basketball season on Sun 11 Feb at 11.15am on Channel 4. NBA XXI. is on Wednesdays from midnight.
80 The List 9-22 Feb l996