Life

TV Review: Help! I think I like Daniel O'Donnell

Daniel O'Donnell and wife Majella. Picture by UTV
Billy Foley

Daniel and Majella’s B&B Roadtrip, UTV, Monday at 8pm

I CAN hardly believe I’m writing this - but Daniel and Majella’s Road Trip was great fun.

Who would have thought it? Half an hour in the company Ireland’s housewives’ favourite and I’m won over.

I better be careful though or I’ll be searching for Big Tom numbers on iTunes and listening to Radio Ulster in the afternoon.

So why has Daniel become a little more acceptable?

Perhaps it’s because his real age is finally beginning to catch up with his personality. He’s 53 now, but he’s played the part of a 60-year-old balladeer for almost 30 years.

It’s not right to be unkind to him though, because the Kincasslagh crooner does seem like a decent chap and himself and Majella make a great couple.

There were some lovely moments, for instance, when Majella had a sneaky pinch of his bum, but warned him with a smile as they checked into their room: "Don’t be at me tonight, I’m too tired."

As good as they were, however, the star of episode one was B&B owner Anne Sheerin from Tusk in Co Roscommon.

Anne was overcome at the idea that Daniel O’Donnell was staying in her house.

"It’s a proud day for us, a proud day for the village," she declared as she waited for our hero to arrive.

When she saw him through the front window, the tension was rising; "He’s here! Oh my God, Daniel is outside. Wow. Oh dear, oh dear. Daniel is here."

When he got out of the car and gave her a hug, her body did things previously unknown to her.

In complete sincerity, she confessed: "I was young when I got married and I didn’t have that feeling."

You couldn’t but be overjoyed for Anne when she led Daniel and Majella into the community hall and, proud as punch, asked him to sing a song for her friends.

The hall bounced with couples in their late-middle age jiving to the joys of Daniel and you realised that this is the real Middle Ireland, to borrow a phrase.

Anne, her B&B and Tusk made for a particularly Irish kind of warm, generous and genuine hospitality.

It will have delighted Tourism Ireland no doubt, but UTV will be happy also with the channel claiming a north and south audience of more than 500,000 viewers for Monday night’s opening episode.

***

Dispatches: How To Stop Nuisance Calls, Tuesday, Channel 4 at 8pm

MORE than eight billion unwanted telephone calls were made in the UK last year and only 11 companies were fined by the Information Commissioner.

It seems to have come out of nowhere in the last couple of years, but unsolicited sales calls are now a big problem.

It’s easy enough for most people to simply hang up but these calls can be particularly difficult for the vulnerable and the elderly.

Dispatches spoke to one woman in her 90s who was afraid to answer the phone because she feared being pressurised into buying something.

Unfortunately, Dispatches didn’t live up to its title. It revealed the scale of the problem but didn’t provide any real solutions.

You can sign up to Telephone Preference Service, a government register of people who don’t want to be called, but some companies ignore it. Or they advise having a message on your answering machine saying you don’t want sales calls.

Other than that, you’re on your own until someone in government decides to get tough.

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