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Saturday 16 December 2017

Legend of the Housewives

DUBLIN HOUSEWIVES (Monday to Thursday, TV3) PLAYHOUSE PResents: walking the dogs (Thursday, Sky Arts) EVIDENTLY JOHN COOPER CLARKE (Wednesday, BBC 4)

Every society has tales of places where the secrets of eternal youth can be found -- Tir na nOg, The Fountain of Youth, Fiddler's Green, Derma Face Clinic in Dublin 2.

They go by many names -- The Tuatha De Danann, The Old Ones and, of course, Dublin Housewives. They've also featuring in a fly-on-the-wall reality television programme on TV3.

It's quite a pantheon. There's Lisa Murphy, consort of the Law God Gerald Kean, an ethereal, expressionless blonde entity who speaks in an ancient tongue ("Thenks sew mech!") and dwells in a place called "Mi Ewn Bewty Saln."



bikini

There's The Macari, who in the second episode gives birth to a child called Thor (the Norse God of Thunder) and by the fourth episode is foisting a bikini line on her subject people (what can we do? I look awful in a bikini!).

Roz Flanagan on the other hand, was probably alive when the bikini was invented, yet looks almost identical in form to her many daughters, on whom, I presume, she feeds (someone called Roz Flanagan is, incidentally, mentioned in The Tain).

Elsewhere, the one called Jo faces property-based money troubles alongside a taciturn husband and likeable sons (presumably called Iron Man and Captain America) and before long is regularly confiding in The Macari and Lisa Murphy, her best friends whom she has just met. The villain of the piece, Loki to The Macari's Thor (literally!), is The (Not a Medical) Doctor, Danielle Meagher, owner of the Botox injecting Derma Face Clinic.

A being constituted almost entirely of Botox into which has been imprinted the outline of a human face, The (Not a Medical) Doctor manifests human emotions but isn't great with them.

"You can't see my frown because I've so much Botox," she says (seriously) after lambasting Jo for smoking. Later she attacks Jo again for partying raucously with her newfound chums. "There are a lot of loose f***wits around this town," she says, accurately.

The (Not a Medical) Doctor was never going to fit in.

She's the only one of the five "Housewives" with a real job. She attends international Botox conventions rather than the VIP Style Awards, which she scoffs at. (For the others, these awards are like ascending to Valhalla, where they can sit at the right hand of MOD).

It's only a matter of time before Jo, a vulnerable but likeable lady, is telling The Macari about the things The (Not a Medical) Doctor has been saying behind her back.

The Macari is angered and orchestrates a showdown. Her wrath is terrible.

Soon The (Not a Medical) Doctor is weeping... I think. Well, fluid is running down her face and she seems emotional. The Macari has won the battle, but what of the war?

Next series: War in Heaven! The Macari summons an army of bats; Roz rips a portal through time and creates the Germans, and Lisa consumes her wedding planner, stealing his power.



PUNK



After all that scripted reality excitement it was nice to see an old-fashioned teleplay.

Walking the Dogs is a fictional story based on a true one -- how Irishman Michael Fagan broke into the Queen's bedroom in 1982.

Here, sad blue-collar worker Eddie Marsan discusses life with Emma Thompson's stoical monarch over dog-biscuits and tea, in a sweet, unhurried play about common humanity.

On Wednesday, I watched a slightly hagiographical documentary about another British national treasure, punk poet John Cooper Clarke, a voice of a generation despite a decade lost to heroin.

Like the Dublin Housewives, the hilarious Clarke may well end up living forever.

"If you see me going into a vegetative state," he says. "I've been there before. It's not that bad."



DUBLIN HOUSEWIVES HHIII PLAYHOUSE PResents: walking the dogs HHHHI EVIDENTLY JOHN COOPeR CLARKE HHHII

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