'When The Party"s Over" (RTE 1, Sunday) - In this exploration of our nation"s drinking habits, Dr Mark Hamilton explores the effects and, in particular, the hidden health costs, of this national pastime.
For many, Christmas is not only a season to be jolly, but merry, tipsy, drunk and hungover, too. This time of year it"s likely that many of us will find ourselves drinking too much on nights out and nights in, only to swear ourselves off the booze forever. But it"s not just our drinking at Christmas we should be worried about.
An effect of the recent boom is the impact our newfound wealth has had on our drinking habits. As the amount of money in our pockets shot up, so too did the amount we were drinking and for much of the past 15 years we, as a nation, have been drinking well in excess of the recommended amounts.
Between 1993 and 2003, alcohol consumption in Ireland leapt by 40 per cent, with Irish people now consuming on average nearly twice the maximum healthy limit for alcohol. And while it"s probable that in the current climate we may have less money for alcohol, we"re likely to continue drinking well in excess of the recommended amounts.
'The Big O" (BBC 4, Friday) - Marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Roy Orbison in 1988, 'The Big O" celebrates both Orbison"s extraordinary talent and his relationship with his most loyal and enduring fans - British musicians and the British public.
'The Big O" includes interviews with Roy"s widow, Barbara Orbison, as well as some of the greats from the world of music, including Robin Gibb, Elvis Costello, Bono, Bill Wyman and Bernie Taupin. The programme also charts Orbison"s career in Britain, from sharing the bill in 1963 on a major tour with The Beatles, up to the collaboration with lifelong friend George Harrison on the Traveling Wilburys project in the late 1980s.
Harrison said at the time of the 1963 tour: 'The audience was just enthralled with him. It was a very frightening thing to be behind the curtain waiting to follow Roy Orbison. He just killed them. We were in awe of him.'
But his life was not without tragedy - in the space of just a few years during the '60s, he lost both his first wife and two of his sons in terrible accidents, thus lending his trademark emotional ballads an intensely soulful quality for evermore.
Effortlessly cool and musically sophisticated, Orbison became the ultimate 'musician"s musician", whose legacy continues to captivate both fans of his music and performers today.
'One Last Consonant, Please Carol" (CH4, Friday) - In this half-hour special, Carol Vorderman chats to Gyles Brandreth about her 26-year involvement with 'Countdown". There are memorable clips, from out-takes to fashion faux pas, and on-screen contributions from Dictionary Corner regulars, Carol"s mother Jean Vorderman and Kathryn Apanowicz, the partner of late former host Richard Whiteley. It"s followed by Carol"s last ever 'Countdown".
'The McDonagh Pictures" (RTE 1, Monday) - This film is about an Irish Traveller called Michael McDonagh and his collection of family photographs.
Michael has been collecting and taking photographs of his Traveller clan for the past 30 years - thousands of photographs giving a revealing insight into the McDonagh family and their changing lives, going back as far as the early 1930s. At the centre of the film are Michael McDonagh and his wife, Nell, who were married in the mid-1970s in a matched marriage arranged by their parents. They have lived almost all of their married lives in Navan.
The second couple who feature in the film are the parents of Nell McDonagh. Mikey and Bobbie Quinn McDonagh were born in tents on the side of the road in the 1930s. Their lifes and stories take the viewer back to the earliest photographs in the collection. These images feature the McDonagh family when they lived and travelled in Longford in the early part of the last century.
Michael McDonagh began to take photographs of Travellers in the 1970s. His motivation was simple: to preserve the images of the people he knew, as many of them were dying and few were leaving any photographs behind of their lives. He took many photographs and collected a great deal more. The documentary takes us into the heart of this Irish Traveller family and, through their stories and memories, gives an insight into the changes in Travellers" lives over the generations.
Movie Of The Week: 'The Santa Clause" (RTE 1, Saturday) - Tim Allen plays a reluctant santa when the jolly fella falls off his roof, leaving nobody to drive the sleigh. A bit dated now, this 1994 effort still manages some feelgood cheer and should work a treat on keeping the little 'uns happy until bedtime.
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