Light humour for dark times

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The Independent Culture
Humour is not something readily associated with Northern Ireland, apart, perhaps, from the absurdity of watching Gerry Adams's lips move to the dubbed voice of an Irish actor before the British Government lifted its media ban on the Sinn Fein leader. But in "The Joint's Not Jumpin' " - the first of three films to be presented in A Little Local Difficulty (8pm BBC2) it is a welcome relief to see that, in the light of the cease- fire, the two can actually be comfortable bedfellows.

The ramshackle meanderings of each film are refreshingly relaxed - even if tonight's does seem a bit thin on direction at times, with a mixed bag of journalists who show everything from casual, uninformed interest to realistic insight. The joint is far from jumping and, as the world's media hangs around Belfast waiting for the latest political instalment, you get the strange impression that the action is definitely taking place somewhere else.

This is an original collection of bite-sized films which successfully captures an unusual human interest element to the Northern Ireland issue.

These are historical times and such quirky tales manage to take a peek backstage at what is going on behind the politicians' backs as they continue their peace efforts but, as with "No Other Purpose" - the third of the trilogy which follows the life and murders of a gun - they also remind us that for some the damage done cannot be made good.

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