Finbar’s Class. I remember but snatches from it. A rebellious earring here, some cheeky backchat there, valid teenage angst wrapped up in a threadbare blanket of bad rapping and someone’s hideous ‘90s puffa jacket. It was mid ’90s young adult fare from RTÉ and about as edgy as the channel ever got, outside of rounding on Annie Murphy of a Friday night.
The premise, if I remember it correctly, was that Michael Sheridan was teaching a load of tarmac terrorists in an inner city Dublin school, when, possibly inspired by Whoppi Goldberg in Sister Act 2, he realised the only way to reach them was through glibly modernised music therapy. Cue lots of East 17-style posturing and Carol from Fair City wearing a tracksuit, or something. I don’t really remember.
However, I did come across this recently.
I’d like to say it brought memories flooding back, but alas, my brain is a one-way street and Finbar’s Class, while clearly brilliant in its own scuzzy way, was not very memorable. I remember loving it, but I don’t remember why. And yet, the scenes depicted above would be controversial now – cartoonish moneylenders! Heroin! Bras! – so it genuinely rots my receptors that Finbar’s Class has since sunk into some sort of RTE netherworld: consigned to the vaults, forgotten. That looks like Fair City on GHB, for Christ’s sake! Surely such a show would have been right up the street of me and my teenage devotion to Melvin Burgess books. So why is it that the only thing I remember is bad singing in moody postures and Michael Sheridan’s mildly disapproving smile?
Can any of you other ‘90s kids dredge this up for me?
(by Lisa McInerney)