TV show review entries

August 25, 2013

Scúp – clár nua as Gaeilge

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4 out of 5 stars

This year a hAintín Beeb aired a new Irish-language drama series. Scúp begins with Don Wycherley’s character Rob joining an an Irish-language newspaper and follows the team’s reportage on community issues.

[“I wish they would subtitle the Irish signs,” Claire grumbles.
Nuacht means ‘news,’” I answer.]

Tonally Scúp bounces along with a gentle-entertainment sort of air; it has a light feel despite the venture into heavier themes of enforced prostitution and suicide. However it’s strange that the writers would engage with this kind of subject matter yet not include any reflection on the politics of running an Irish-language newspaper in Belfast.

There are some curious inconsistencies in the use of language too; a central Irish-speaking character is ‘Michael’ rather than ‘Mícheál’. The subtitle translations can be erratic (idiomatic expressions used in English when there are established Irish versions). There are also some very enjoyable loan-words in the mix; hence a pair of sweethearts might be said to pass an evening ag shagáil.

Unfortunately some of Northern Ireland’s multiracial community appears to have learned no Irish at all and must make do with English. For shame.

The cast is strong and includes alumni of the Irish stage (and in two cases, Father Ted) Dennis Conway, Kelly Gough, Donncha Crowley and Caitríona Ní Mhurchú. Writer Colin Bateman – whose Murphy’s Law launched the career of the poisonously irritating James C. Nesbitt – may be forgiven on the grounds of this latest venture.

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