Monday 24 October 2016

Nadia chases the viewers... Sorry, I mean chases the dream...

* Nadia: Chasing the Dream, 3e
* Ballot Monkeys, Channel 4

Published 02/05/2015 | 02:30

On to the next one: Model-turned-singer Nadia Forde is the subject of her own 3e reality show
On to the next one: Model-turned-singer Nadia Forde is the subject of her own 3e reality show

When watching 3e, several questions inevitably spring to mind. The first and most obvious of these is... what am I doing here?

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No, I don't mean watching 3e is likely to provoke profound, existential questions abut life, the universe and our place in it.

Instead, and rather more prosaically, I mean it is quite simply a case of... what am I doing, watching 3e?

Like most proud couch potatoes in this technologically advanced era, I have about 400 channels on my telly, and that's before you include On Demand, the various catch-up services as well as Netflix, box-sets, and those lovely hack codes that permit us to watch American shows that have yet to reach these shores.

So, in the face of such a staggering level of options, what the hell possesses someone to watch a channel that is effectively the TV3 reserve team?

Well, it's work, baby.

In other words, any TV critic will be aware that while this is an undoubtedly sexy and exciting job which involves being schmoozed by nervous TV execs and producers desperate for your approval (actually, that's not the case at all. Well, not for me, it's not), there are times when we have to do the hard yards.

When we have to watch stuff simply so you won't have to.

Which is precisely where Nadia: Chasing The Dream comes in.

Who is Nadia Forde and why do we know so much about her?

I've never met the girl and know more about her than I do about my own family. And I like my family, most of the time.

I think she used to be one of those girls who would stand in their underpants at the top of Grafton Street doing a photoshoot for a mobile-phone company. I know that she once sang the national anthem before an Ireland match, although I mostly remember that incident because one of my more traditionalist friends actually passed out with rage.

Oh, and apparently she was on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me A Career, but I think people only remember her on that show because she won't stop talking about it.

I know she has an awkward history with her Ma, simply because it's virtually impossible to open a paper these days without seeing her spilling her heart out to reporters, whether they want to hear her or not.

And I definitely know that she wants to make a music career for herself because she keeps making documentaries of stupendously cringe-making quality about it.

I walked myself into a world of pain in this column a while ago when I pointed out that most of those Irish models who spend their time telling the Irish media how they have moved to Tinseltown are deluding themselves because, by Hollywood terms, they're all too old and too fat.

That wasn't an insult to anyone who wants to crack the toughest market in the world, it's just that Hollywood is an insane freak show which decrees that any newcomer who is older than 16 and weighs more than a small bag of air is surplus to requirements.

So kudos to Ms Forde for not allowing the evidence to stop her from chasing her dream.

Which is where Nadia: Chasing The Dream comes in.

This follows her as she starts at the bottom rung of the showbiz ladder and we see such fascinating insights as her talking to her songwriter, laughing with her backing dancers and talking endlessly about I'm A Celebrity.

And you know what? She seems like a really lovely girl. I mean that, I really do. She's a nice, good-looking kid who doesn't seem to have a bad bone in her body.

So why on earth did a production company decide to follow her around?

Frankly, nice but dull doesn't cut it on TV any more, if it ever did. So my free suggestion to Nadia and her 'people' is a follow-up documentary called Nadia: Chasing The Dragon.

This would see her trek through the so called 'Golden Triangle' in South East Asia, getting monged on the various local strains of opium, all while being filmed.

Granted, this would be potentially lethal and certainly criminal.

But at least that way she might actually say something interesting.

You see, these are the sacrifices I'm prepared to ask other people to make.

You may have heard that there's an election in the UK next week.

If nothing else, it has provided satirists something to get their teeth into and that brings us to Channel 4's Ballot Monkeys, which is set on the so-called 'battle buses' of the main parties, and the Lib Dems.

You don't have to have a keen interest in UK politics to get all the gags on Ballot Monkeys, but it certainly helps.

From the slick and evil Tories to the hapless Lib Dems to the UKIP bus - which is not slick but may well be evil - stalwarts such as Hugh Dennis and Ben Miller have fun chewing the carpet.

From the same people who brought us Drop The Dead Donkey, Ballot Monkeys follows in that whip-smart tradition, even if it also exists under the mighty shadow cast by The Thick Of It.

But there are some great moments, not least Andy Nyman's harried UKIP press officer, whose idea of a quiet day at the office is being able to say: "I only suspended two members today."

Too many of these self-consciously smart comedies rely on the hope that they're 'funny because it's true.'

It's not just funny because it's true, it's funny because it's funny.

Irish Independent

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