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Television, Paper II January 14, 2010

Posted by Paula in Televisual.
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My final year in secondary school is one that I would rather forget. Macbeth, photosynthesis, the formation of limestone – the memories are there but they are buried in a very dark place. It is certainly not a year that I would have wished to be captured forever on film, and not only that, but broadcast on national television.

I’m lucky that my parents didn’t make a snap decision to send me to St Peter’s College in Co. Meath then. The staff and students of St Peter’s were followed around for a full year by RTÉ cameras, and the results are being broadcast as a three-part series called The School. The final instalment, filmed during the black hole of pain that is State exam time, airs next Monday on RTÉ1.

Having watched the first two episodes, I think that The School is one of the best homegrown documentaries that RTÉ has shown in a while. It’s well worth a look, if only for the ache of familiarity (but certainly not nostalgia) that will hit anyone who attended an Irish secondary school. Addressing every adult female as Bean Ní something, getting notes to your parents in your homework diary, or receiving one of those “If I could go in there and sit the exam for you, I WOULD, but this is your problem” lectures… it’s all there.

The School can be seen on Monday, 9.35pm on RTÉ1. The first two episodes are available on the RTÉ iPlayer for the next few weeks.