Thursday 26 April 2018

Reality TV: The wannabes who finally made it big

As Julia Molony chats to TV presenter Laura Whitmore Pat Fitzpatrick takes a look at other Irish stars who started their careers on UK reality-TV shows

Ray Shah
Ray Shah
Niall Horan of One Direction
Anna Nolan
Brian Dowling.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Reality shows love their subjects/victims to have a back story. So you can imagine Anna at the interview for Big Brother back in 2000. Big Brother: "Tell us a bit about yourself." Anna: "I'm a lesbian ex-nun." Big Brother: "I just fell off my chair." You don't see many young nuns these days. Unless, that is, you go to Temple Bar late on a Saturday night, where you might spot one or two. Of course, they're dressed as sexy nurses in case the Mother Superior is out looking for them. You can't be too careful.

BRIAN DOWLING

Brian probably appeared too nice at the Big Brother interviews. They must have felt that this guy just doesn't have it in him to be rude in front of a large audience. And then they learned he worked for Ryanair. Now Ryanair have gone all nicey-nicey. They're even introducing "quiet flights" at night, where the cabin crew will just make vital safety announcements. Such as, "Ladies and gentlemen, we recommend you buy a scratch card before they run out."

SHAYNE WARD

This X Factor winner was born in Manchester to Irish parents. You might think that doesn't qualify him as fully Irish. So you obviously missed the coverage of the aforementioned recent State visit (lucky you), where Michael D, basically, told everyone in Britain they were Irish, whether they liked it or not. Yes, there is a welcome here for all the Irish diaspora, as long as they agree to buy a load of tacky souvenirs and don't ask for the vote.

NIALL HORAN

The best thing about X Factor? The simple fact that it isn't on all year, says you. Not only that – it also usually features a bit of Irish interest. One Direction's Niall appeared in the box with Michael D at the recent Ceiliuradh gig at London's Royal Albert Hall. The night was very well received by both critics and fans. Although a few purists felt that it wasn't an entirely authentic Irish sing-song, because nobody drank 10 vodkas and sang, "Summertime and the living is easy" for more than an hour.

RAY SHAH

Mild-mannered Ray made his name on Big Brother in 2003 by pleasuring himself under a duvet. He was runner-up that year. It's fair to say he would have won if it wasn't for the duvet. Nobody likes a prude, after all. Times have changed since then, however, and, nowadays, you expect a shot or two of a couple grinding away under a duvet in a dark bedroom from reality shows such as Tallafornia. Not that it will distract you from watching free porn on your mobile phone. Ya dirty thing ya.

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