Irish eyes aren’t smiling

by January 23, 2011

One of the archetypal title sequences in television produced in the British Isles is comprised of shots of a 1930s automobile trundling up and down the gravel-paved roads of the Yorkshire Dales in the BBC’s long-running adaptation of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small. The skies are mostly overcast, but the land is lovely and the tone both bucolic and nostalgic. Watch an episode or two and your heart is almost guaranteed to be a degree or two warmer than before.

Almost certainly (if only partly) in reaction to All Creatures Great and Small and its popular and profitable ilk is a more recent television and film style that focuses on the gritty, the urban, and the fully contemporary. On the big screen it was Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) that most effectively convinced non-natives that Scotland was no longer the land of Brigadoon, and a host of small-screen dramas over the past decade or two have done the same for major cities across the archipelago. All of which leads me back to title sequences, because the one recently shot for Corp + Anam (sequence designed and filmed by Lorcan Finnegan of Lovely Productions), an upcoming 4-part crime drama on Ireland’s TG4, is so striking that it could well become as iconic in its own genre as that 1930s Dales-traversing automobile is in its.