TV & Radio
TV Pick of the week: London Calling
A new RTE documentary is set to shine the spotlight on some of the country's hardest working but most unsung heroes - our would-be Olympians participating in London later this summer.
If you’ve been watching enough TV adverts recently, it might appear as though becoming an Olympian requires eating as much Olympic-branded chocolate bars and dousing yourself in Olympic-brand coke as possible afterwards.
Not so - it actually takes hard work and dedication, as London Calling, RTE 2, Tuesday, 10.35pm will document from Tuesday night.
A six-part RTE series (which if you happen to miss it will also be available through the RTE Player on UPC On Demand of course) set against the backdrop of Ireland’s belt-tightening, free cheese-offering economic downturn, London Calling is set to focus on the Irish summer sporting heroes that aren’t kicking a ball around on Poland.
Instead, we’re talking about the discus-chucking, foreigner-punching Irish that could give us a rare untarnished gold medal at the London Games.
An observational documentary, the series follows the trials and tribulations of some of our brightest hopefuls in the English capital, painting a clear picture of not just how each athlete made it to the world’s biggest sporting spectacle but also providing an insight into their daily lives.
Ultimately it’s about giving us an understanding of how these exceptional people balance the rigorous demands of fulfilling their dreams while also balancing their chosen sport’s demands with an everyday life.
The show itself brings together a wealth of documented athletes from urban and rural backgrounds across the country, with our would-be Olympians competing in everything from boxing to athletics, triathlon, three-day eventing and cycling.
For the first in the six-part show, viewers will meet Corkman Robert Heffernan, a 20km and 50km race walker, and his wife Marian Heffernan – a 400m sprinter – who balances childcare while competing in the European Indoor Championships in Paris. An elite athlete couple eh? Suddenly we feel ashamed for gorging on microwave popcorn alongside our better half every weekend.
Tuesday night’s show also follows the travails of Mark Kenneally, a long distance runner who is attempting to compete in the Olympic marathon while running a business full-time. As we have said, these are certainly exceptional people.
Be sure to catch this Tuesday’s first episode as London Calling has plenty more inspirational figures in the weeks ahead, including Ireland’s second-ever gymnast Olympic hopeful Kieran Behan and Aileen Morrison (pictured above), one of the world’s leading female triathletes.
With so many homegrown documentaries focusing on the negative aspects of Irish life, it makes a refreshing change to watch something that provides inspirational insights and also allows us to puff out our chests and hope for the best from July 27.
TV Pick of the Week: London Calling, RTE 2, Tuesday, 10.35pm