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Given his track record, broadcaster and writer John Kelly may seem like an obvious choice for the presenter’s chair on Other Voices.
Peter Murphy, 01 Feb 2006
However, his obvious ease with the position belies the fact that he joined the programme just last year, as a successor to Glen Hansard and Jerry Fish.
Now that the show’s musical format has been established, he’s confident that its visual style and interview segments can be developed and expanded. This year sees a significant departure in that respect.
“I came in on the third series,” he says, “and my function was as MC – most of my work was done off the screen, in terms of winding up the audience, telling jokes, that kinda stuff. I would have been one of several people saying that it should develop into being more of a television programme instead of just a filmed gig, mainly because all the stuff Philip (King) will tell you about Dingle being magic is all actually true.
“The public might perceive this as my programme because I’m presenting it, but this is Philip King’s baby. It came out of his world. I mean, Philip sounds like an ad for the Kerry tourist board, but what he talks about does happen, there is something special goes on in that week. But the thing is that up to now we weren’t showing it, you were just seeing people sitting in a church.
“So people were starting to think we should develop this and actually show some of the other stuff that happens. I mean, a lot of it can’t be shown; it’s probably not fair to show some musician falling over a piano at four in the morning, but at least you’re in a very picturesque town with loads of locations, the bands are staying all day and hanging around, or staying extra days ‘cos they love it so much. You get performers playing in the pub or busking.”
Or, for that matter, being interviewed in various unorthodox locations.
“I’m very happy to get up in the morning and do a piece with Horslips or go down the beach with the Asian Dubs,” Kelly says. “We did full days, everyone was exhausted, but you couldn’t call it hard work. Obviously if you film something in a church, the danger of solemnity is enormous, but most music programmes are filmed in godforsaken industrial estates. And the artists get it pretty quickly – there’s no point in going around with laminates on. You’re going to have your dinner in the pub with everyone else, and your fan club is gonna be there too, so get used to it. It’s just a relaxed thing, you get music sessions every night, Alabama 3 playing with Seamus Begley, this kinda stuff.