Vincent gets show on road; TV3'S LIVE DEBATES HAVE US ALL TALKING.
Byline: GARRETH MACNAMEE
THERE'S something about live TV. It's a minefield at the best of times.
So when the channel decided to bring the Vincent Browne show on the road, telly executives must have let out a gasp of exasperation and fear.
While there are those who lick their lips at the prospect of Vincent being handed a live TV microphone, the producers must be on at least six valium a night.
Vincent is traversing this nation to see what the real Joe and Josephine Soaps think about current affairs.
They also have a panel of politicians knocking about, spouting the usual gibberish while waiting for a frustrated Vinnie to explode.
This week Donegal got a look in. There is something about a free event and the prospect of self-publicity which rouses the cute hoorism out of Irish people.
And, to be fair, there was a lot of political jiggery-pokery doing the rounds this week.
Whether it was a councillor wrestling the mic off a runner to get another couple of minutes' airtime, or fellas who were following the crowd thinking they were going to the cinema, the programme was packed with all varieties of people.
Sure, where else would you get a fella, looking what can only be described as world-wearied and wearing a hat feauturing a cannabis plant, asking Sinn Fein's finance spokesman about water charges? It was like a town hall meeting in the twilight zone.
And once you go to a Sinn Fein stronghold such as Donegal and bring out Fianna Failers, there's bound to be a bit of screaming. So when Mr Fianna Fail began to talk, choruses of boos and "feck this" and "feck that" rang around the hundreds of people who had turned up.
It was like panto meets politics and, in fairness, it was bloody good fun.
There aren't many opportunities where members of the public can give those in Dail Eireann a right bollicking.
Well, that's unless you follow the President to the school and call him names like a bully.
There can be no doubt Irish TV is upping its game now that UTV Ireland has arrived.
Even RTE News is trying to adapt now they have two competitors to contend with.
But there's plenty of room for different kinds of current affairs as Vincent's roving "People's Debates" perfectly illustrates.
The national broadcaster has to be seen to be giving the general public a voice to speak their minds.
While Joe Duffy's Liveline lets people on the radio, it's rare TV audiences get a look in.
So, TV3 has to be commended for their efforts, even if the locations they book are echoey chambers where people's opinions get lost in reverberation.
But just one tip - if you're going to be on the box, leave the hashish hat at home.
Vincent with a live microphone? The producers must be on at least six valium a night
Radio star: Joe Duffy presents Liveline
public speaking Vincent Browne is coming to a town near you