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Call the Midwife has the baby formula for success

Dave O'Connell

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

If someone suggested that a drama based around the lives of a group of young midwives living in a convent of nuns would provide the perfect formula for Sunday evening television, you’d have made a call for the men in the white coats.

But Call the Midwife has been a phenomenal success – a sort of Walton’s of the delivery room, a gynaecological Glenroe, where even the grit and grime of post-war Poplar cannot cast a shadow over the feel good factor that makes it both compulsive and inoffensive every Sunday night.

The latest series came to an end on BBC1 on Sunday, but it’s already been commissioned for a fourth series to go out next year – and no doubt there will be another Christmas special to whet the appetite before that as well.

That’s down in part to a stellar cast of familiar names like Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris, Stephen McGann and Cliff Parisi (Minty from Eastenders) but most of all the supremely versatile Miranda Hart as Chummy, the aristocrat who turned her back on wealth and married the local policeman while pursuing her vocation as a midwife.

Then there are the young, impressionable midwives themselves – Jessica Raine as Jenny Lee (in essence, Jennifer Worth, the author of the memoirs on which this is based), Helen George as foxy Trixie, Bryony Hannah as dowdy Cynthia and Laura Main, who starts out as Sr Bernadette but ends up as Shelagh, wife of Dr Turner, after she decides the religious life is not for her.

All of this is set in London’s East End of the 1950s, when poverty and deprivation still abounded in the post-war era. So while the nurses and nuns live in relative comfort at Nonnatus House, their rounds – always made by rickety bicycle over cobbled streets – take them into the tenements and dives where poverty and disease abound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 

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Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Artists going to dogs in aid of annual auction

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Work donated to MADRA by Galway artist Grace Cunningham and Achill Island’s Padraig McCaul.

Works by some of Ireland’s top artists, including Grace Cunningham and Finbar McHugh from Galway as well as Padraig McCaul from Achill Island and Charles Harper from Valentia Island, will go under the hammer at this year’s MADRA Dog Rescue Charity Art Auction.

The popular event, which kicks off for viewing next week, will take place online year due to Covid restrictions.

The event, will open for registration and online bids next Thursday, December 3 and will remain available to view and bid online until Monday, December 7 .

The goal is to raise €3,000 to contribute towards vet bills for the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption charity. MADRA is facing major bills, all without the financial support that’s normally generated by its two charity shops – they have been closed for months this year due to the pandemic.

“We have stunning artworks available with an amazing variety of subjects and styles,” explains MADRA co-founder and director, Marina Fiddler, adding that the organisation is “honoured that so many talented artists have donated such beautiful pieces to support the homeless dogs in our care”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Celebrating Romania on Great Union Day

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ConTempo, will perform a programme from thier native Romania for next Tuesday's lunchthime concert.

The next instalment of the lunchtime music series, From Europe with Love, will take place next Tuesday, December 1, at 1pm. Hosted by Galway Music Residency, it’s the last one for 2020.

It promises to be a special event as Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet, who are from Romania, celebrate their homeland on what’s known as Great Union Day. This national holiday marks the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

ConTempo will perform a varied programme, showcasing the best of Romanian music. This will feature works by celebrated composers George Enescu and Theodor Grigoriu alongside lesser-known musical treasures. There will be a strong folk theme throughout, making for a lively lunchtime show.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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