Mary O'Rourke: spent the week flitting invisibly from studio to studio like a little Westmeath Yoda

Just when things couldn't get any more dispiriting, along comes some first-class political theatre to liven up the airwaves. At last, we have something to talk about that is significant and insignificant at the same time.

The story belonged to Micheál Martin early on but he was robbed – temporarily – midweek. "Fire in the belly," Martin cried, repeatedly, on every radio show, causing some people to heave. Little did we know that the fire in Martin's belly would end up looking like mere dyspepsia, in view of the rest of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party being sick as parrots.

"What a week," sighed Marian Finucane on RTÉ radio yesterday. "Tuesday feels like a year ago." And that was before Brian Cowen stood down.

The Taoiseach was in flying form on Monday's Right Hook (Newstalk). "Why do you only come out fighting when your back is to the wall?" asked George Hook. "Why do you appear in this studio, to paraphrase Gilbert and Sullivan, the very essence of a modern major-general?"

On BBC Radio 4's Today, Mark Simpson also compared the affair to "a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta". He didn't say which. The Pirates of Penzance? Or was he inwardly humming 'Three Little Maids From School'? By yesterday, of course, Cowen was the Grand Poobah no more.

The other main player in Act I, Brian Lenihan, receded somewhat after the 'incident' on Tuesday's News at One. Lenihan told Sean O'Rourke he had been too busy in "the engine room" to arrange a mutiny, but certain of the crew begged to differ. "He did encourage dissent," countered John McGuinness. The finance minister, unhappy at being cast as Fletcher Christian, withdrew to quarters.

But as we know, you're never stuck for a Lenihan, such is the fecundity of the secret Lenihan spawning grounds. Emerging increasingly often all week was Conor Lenihan. He and his brother grow more and more like the Milibands in Britain: in order that one can have plain sailing, the other has to be in the horse latitudes.

By Friday's Today with Pat Kenny, Conor was almost serene. Having gone three rounds with Vincent Browne on TV3 the previous night, he was replete, sure of himself, his calf-eyes black with conviction. (You can tell, even on radio.)

"I'm trying to show leadership here," he told Kenny magisterially. "I have no vested interest in this. I'm making a humble request that we put a new leader in place."

Meanwhile, Auntie Lenihan, Mary O'Rourke, spent her days flitting invisibly from studio to studio, like a little Westmeath Yoda.

"Found his mojo the Taoiseach has," she remarked, early on. "Too late to make a leadership change it is," she claimed, at first, although revisited the question could be, later. "When 900 years you reach, look this good you will not. Hmm?" she added.

On Thursday, everyone waited in horrified fascination to see if the government would fall. Sean O'Rourke opened the News at One with a list of the ministers we didn't have. It was exhilarating. The story was moving so fast that if you took your eye off it for a second you suddenly found Mary Coughlan was health minister and there wasn't even time to consider the implications.

On Newstalk's Breakfast on Friday, Ivan Yates and Chris O'Donoghue chewed the fat about events, demonstrating again why Morning Ireland and the News at One are where it's at when anything important happens.

A good current affairs show lets the principals chew the fat themselves, although in the case of Trevor Sargent and John Curran – quarrelling on Morning Ireland about who knew what about the reshuffle – you get Curran sinking his fangs into the fat and Sargent feebly gumming his lentils.

All week we heard from the old guard and the new. "Let's find out what the youngsters think," shouted radio producers everywhere. "Get me Paul Gogarty." "But Paul Gogarty is 42!" exclaimed anxious researchers. "I know, but he talks like Kevin the Teenager. Get him on the phone."

On Friday's Morning Ireland, Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar said helpfully: "Everything is so unpredictable now it's almost hard to make any predictions." So much for the young guard.

"Wouldn't have happened in my time," snarled Ray MacSharry, the old guard, on Friday's News at One, but it sounded like sour grapes. Despite the absence of Haughey, MacSharry et al, we do still live in interesting times.