Saturday 22 July 2017

Ervine’s family see funny side of RTE comedy on the late loyalist

HUMOUR SHINES THROUGH: David Ervine with disguised Patrick Kielty and Jason Byrne
HUMOUR SHINES THROUGH: David Ervine with disguised Patrick Kielty and Jason Byrne

Aoife Finneran

THE late Progressive Unionist leader David Ervine is to return to TV screens in a laugh-a-minute episode of the comedy show Anonymous

.Ervine, who passed away on January 8 following a heart attack, took part in the RTE series shortly before his death.

And now his wife Jeanette and family have given their consent for the episode to be screened on RTE 2 next Monday night.

The popular loyalist politician was one of three political representatives in the North who agreed to take part in the programme fronted by comedian Jason Byrne.

Unwittingly, they were interviewed by Belfast comedian Patrick Kielty, who was cleverly disguised as a spoof New York TV reporter, Betty Silverman. This is the second series of the show which features well-known celebrities taking on various disguises and using them to fool their own family, friends and general public.

Funnyman Patrick Kielty agreed to transform himself into the character of Betty, an eccentric TV reporter on a mission to uncover some truths about Ireland.

On a trip to Belfast, “she” interviewed various people in order to define a true northern sense of humour and to find out whether Catholics or Protestants have the better sense of humour.

Despite Patrick’s masculine frame, he managed to fool his victims and even affected a throaty voice which his interviewees accepted as being female.

Show producers had also arranged for him to speak with a number of northern political representatives, including Paul Maskey of Sinn Fein, John Dallat of the SDLP and David Ervine.

The trio were all asked to explain the Northern sense of humour, with Ervine maintaining his professional manner despite the obvious questions surrounding Betty’s authenticity.

The result is an engaging and hilarious picture of the late politician, credited with playing a critical role in the peace process.

His family’s decision to allow RTE to screen the comic piece six months after his passing proves that they have put the appalling incident of the incorrect reporting of his death behind them.

Mr Ervine was wrongly reported dead by RTE on Sunday, January 7, after suffering two massive heart attacks and a stroke.

He had been admitted to the Ulster Hospital in Dun-donald and RTE reporters revealed on the station’s main news bulletin that he had died. However, he did not pass away until the following afternoon.

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