As someone who was weaned on late '60's progressive rock music I also used to enjoy watching and listening to Val Doonican's TV shows (and Lulu, Harry Secombe, Pet Clark et al) back then and later in the '70's and '80's usually done while doing something else as well. As a middle aged male I think I lost the ability to multitask decades ago so I devoted my attention to this little documentary, obviously commissioned by the BBC with an eye on the worldwide cable biography TV money market.
VD exuded an artless warmth in his shows, mixing a little comedy and guest stars with him sturdily singing honestly ordinary songs, ranging from softly sentimental to not so softly sentimental. And a few jovial and jaunty Oirish ditties that I used to wait for every episode, Paddy McGinty's Goat in particular. Unfortunately there has to appear in here an Irish lecturer on Nothing from Liverpool complaining about the deplorable racism inherent in these songs, which did nothing but bring pleasure to millions of diverse people around the world over the decades if they could be so psycho-harmful why doesn't the lecturer try to get rid of his stereotypical Irish accent then? Wonder what he rates The Dubliners? The programme goes through Val's life and career he'd been treading the boards from 1947 and to be fair does it fairly. Trying to explain the death of light entertainment I thought Rolf Harris struggled to be charitable with the comment that VD's shows were axed in 1986 because they weren't dramatic enough let's face it, if a TV show isn't hyped up to the eyeballs for the under 30's it ain't going to get shown nowadays! "Entertainment" today doesn't let you relax for an hour of gentle songs with the likes of Val Doonican anymore, there has to be a heavily rehearsed frenetic competition, flashy lights for epileptics and migraineurs, a belty song that sounds like the belty song that was just on, maybe even cgi cartoonery, with every shaky scene lasting no longer than 2 seconds.
A great entertainer sorely missed by these ears. If you're interested, this doc does a good job in making you realise what has been lost - and lost forever; but if you're a member of the main demographic that UK TV is interested in today you will probably hoot with derision while your cocaine goes up the wrong way.
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