Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


The Live Parrot Sketch

Ristéard Cooper as Setanta & Máirtín Ó Direáin the parrot
I got an email this afternoon about a new TG4 sitcom called An Crisis, starring Ristéard Cooper, Norma Sheahan, Don Wycherley, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh and Donncha Crowley. I was about half way through the PR spiel before the penny finally dropped… I fucking wrote this show! Well okay, that’s an exaggeration. About two years ago now, I was contacted by a TV production company asking if I’d take a look at a new television series they had in development. They sent over scripts for six episodes and I replied a couple of weeks later with several pages of notes for each episode: jokes, character and plot suggestions, alternative scene ideas etc. I was well compensated for my time and that was the last I ever heard of it.

In fact, I’d completely forgotten about the whole thing until today. Now I have no idea how many (if any) of my ideas ended up being taken on board, so I have no idea how much (if any) of the blame/credit can be laid at my door when the show is broadcast. There was, as I recall, one major set-piece joke I wrote which I thought was pretty funny. I can’t remember which episode it was in. But it was scatological in nature, so it’ll be interesting to see if it made the cut.

If nothing else though, the experience has provided a real insight into the glacial pace at which television works. Right now, I’m compiling a light-hearted quiz to appear in the Irish Times magazine on Easter weekend. It’s been really bugging me all afternoon that, when these questions appear in print in ten days time, they won’t be nearly as topical as they are now. Imagine how much more irritating the process must be for a television or a screenwriter?

My own involvement in An Crisis was two years ago now, but I got the feeling that the project had already been in the works for a long time by then. The series is set in the Dublin office of an Irish language organisation, but in the scripts they sent me there were lots of inexplicable references to what awful places Waterford, Sligo and Athlone are. When I queried this, I was told that, when the series was originally conceived, decentralisation was the the hot button issue. Decentralisation was announced in 2004.

March 24th, 2010.

5 Responses to “The Live Parrot Sketch”

  1. Griff Says:

    Sounds like you’re hedging your bets on this one. If it’s a hit it’s your baby. If it’s shite you had nothing to do with it. Not a bad idea I suppose.

  2. Eoin Says:

    In fairness Griff, its a TG4 sitcom so expectations are bound to be high…

  3. julia Says:

    So did you write it in Irish?

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Julia – no, I wrote all of my bits in English

    @ EK – urgh, don’t start

  5. Colin Says:

    Intereting title name, nice cast, pity about the Irish. Anyone here watch anything on TG4 with regularity? Movies, Scannal, Survivor with irish narration and the odd glimpse of Paisean Faisean works for me. Also catch the odd foreign documentary redubbed as Gaelige.

    Any fans of Feirm Factor and Glas Vegas?

    “Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say “Ni” at
    will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is
    sacred! Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under
    considerable economic stress at this point in time.” – Roger the
    Shrubber (talking about the Irish?)

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