Radio review: Normal People causes a collision between two Irelands

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann is an Irish News columnist and writes a weekly radio review.

Nuala McCann
Nuala McCann Nuala McCann

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In the 1980s, when sexism was somehow more acceptable, the odd sporting picture would appear in this very paper where someone is being presented with a trophy surrounded by a few leggy “beauties in shorts”.

Sometimes, the photos would be cut out and returned to this paper with the words FILTH and DIRT written up the ladies’ bare legs.

RTÉ’s Liveline felt like a throwback to those long ago days in the fuss over the television production of Irish writer Sally Rooney’s book Normal People.

Is the Irish broadcaster promoting fornication, was the question some were asking.

The word “slut” also featured –

What is the male equivalent of that word asked presenter Joe Duffy.

“D***head” suggested one caller. But Joe begged to differ.

A caller, Tommy, said a few of the young married women in his parish had come to him and he felt compelled to ring on their behalf.

A few women rang who pointed out they were married but could ring themselves and had enjoyed the show.

One, a religion teacher, said it was beautiful.

It felt like a head-on collision between two Irelands.

Sex before marriage, the ten commandments, mortal souls, girls “getting into trouble” and inevitably abortion raised its ugly head etc.

There will be parents in Ireland watching this who would be mortified, said one woman.

It’s important to watch and discuss these things with your children, argued another.

Would you want your daughter to be that actress, Joe, one caller asked.

“I don’t go there, I never go there, but she loved the book and is enjoying the tv series,” he countered.

To be fair, Joe Duffy gave all the callers a voice and challenged them without taking sides.

I came late to this but you can hear it on the RTE website.

Meanwhile those isolating with me tell me that the male lead, television star Paul Mescal, is being hailed as the next Brad Pitt.

But, lest he lose a sense of his background, Mescal is also the Ballyhaunis sausage ad guy.

Hot sausage now I guess – or is that sexist?