Sunday 25 February 2018

Kirsty at large: RTÉ documentary doesn't smell of roses

Experience: Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins on stage
Experience: Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins on stage
Good chinwag: Davis Factor and Angela Scanlon
Call me Al: Porter is up for a comedy award
Usain Bolt with Brazilian student Jady Duarte. Picture: Jady Duarte/WhatsApp
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

I fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams earlier this week; I attended the Rose of Tralee.

Along with the Late Late Toy Show and the Eurovision, The Rose of Tralee is one of my favourite annual TV broadcasts.

OK - I know everyone is expected to deplore the event for its dated format. But for me, there is no greater union than live TV and amateur but deeply felt party pieces.

And, like many viewers, I also warm to its wholesome charm. I like that the Roses are all so chummy and supportive. It reminds me of a glitzy Malory Towers.

Which is why I was taken aback when I heard about the 'Rose cull' that had taken part for the RTÉ documentary Road to the Dome. This was an X Factor-style elimination process which saw 33 Roses axed from the contest.

Early on Sunday morning, the 65 Roses were herded into two different rooms, their reaction filmed for a documentary. RTÉ insisted all Roses were aware of the set up but the Roses told a different story.

"I really disliked that experience," Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins said. "It moved from a documentary to a reality TV show. We were down in a hotel room and told to look straight ahead.

"We were barked at and told not to do anything to ruin the shot.

"I was really disappointed, I thought it was unethical… and extremely manipulative." Chairperson of the ROT Anthony O'Gara admitted the documentary seemed to have gone against the ethos of the festival. The decision to give RTÉ such unprecedented access in future will be reviewed in the coming weeks. Brianna is right of course; the documentary was unpleasantly manipulative.

Every Rose I spoke to found the festival an empowering experience - none of them said that about being filmed for RTÉ's X Factor-inspired documentary.

No such thing as too shy - grab your red lipstick

Good chinwag: Davis Factor and Angela Scanlon

Good chinwag: Davis Factor and Angela Scanlon

Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor and Dr Frank-N-Furter would have wept.

This week it emerged 54pc of women feel "too shy" to wear red lipstick.

The colour was deemed too attention grabbing in the work place. Here now.

Robot Wars host Angela Scanlon, however, was full of praise for the shade at a Smashbox soiree this week.

"Make-up is the one thing we have over lads - we need our warpaint. So find your shade of red lipstick and slap it on, just don't chew your lips while wearing it," she added hastily.

The shindig was taking place in super cool homeware store/restaurant Industry. Photographer Davis Factor (son of iconic make up artist Max) chit-chatted to author Louise O'Neill and presenter Brendan Courtney.Aoife Cogan caught up with stylist to the stars Ingrid Hoey and Anna Cosgrove of Repeal Project.

"It's like big dinner party with a daycent feed and a good chinwag," Scanlon said.

Sparkly show earns Al Porter one of comedy's coveted award nods

Call me Al: Porter is up for a comedy award

Round of applause for super camp comedian Al Porter please.

The Tallaght native has only gone and got himself shortlisted for a 'Comedy Oscar'.

Porter, who is known for his hyperactive delivery and dishy three-piece suits, is in the running for a Best Comedy Show - formerly the Perrier Award - at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for his runaway hit Al Porter at Large (sounds oddly familiar).

Porter isn't the only Irish comedian celebrating this week; Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs Brown's Boys was named Best Sitcom of the 21st century and Jennifer Maguire's throwback series Bridget and Eamon has been snapped up by UK channel Gold.

Despite their success some people seem determined to criticise this brand of broad comedy. Apparently it lacks smarts and imagination.

"Me and Brendan doing so well in one week? I guess there's no accounting for taste," Al Porter said.

"Who cares anyway? My show may be thematically sparse but it's very sparkly."

Both Porter and O'Carroll say they cater for "the audience comedy forgot" packing their shows with double-entendres and slapstick.

"The sort of comedy your nan can enjoy while she's doing the ironing," Porter said. "That's my aim. Belly laughs."

But that description does Porter a disservice.

Whether people want to admit it or not, this is smart and sophisticated comedy.

Both Porter and O'Carroll's ability to read and react to an audience is a finely tuned talent many comics lack.

Porter has been shortlisted alongside the sort of comedians critics love - one man's routine was based around his love of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, while another joked about Brexit.

What difference does it make if Porter's schtick isn't littered with high brow or political references?

A laugh is a laugh.



Making a come back apparently. Here’s hoping the look is more Annie Hall than embarrassing uncle. 

Beautiful bromances

Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan (right) are in town for the première of Anthropoid. Should definitely partake in a smouldering stare-off.



Viewers of ROT were not a fan of the elaborately curled hair styles. Let’s loosen things up next year.

Burkini Ban

Just wrong. 


Usain Bolt with Brazilian student Jady Duarte. Picture: Jady Duarte/WhatsApp

Man oh man. No wonder Usain Bolt’s girlfriend Kasi Bennett was annoyed when this picture of the Olympian in bed with another woman started doing the rounds.

In response, she threw down some passive-aggressive social media shade — liking a series of Instagram posts that dissed Bolt’s antics. “When your girl is Selfridges, and you cheat on her with Primark,” one read.

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