Thursday 18 January 2018

People are talking: The married name game for Cheryl

What's in a name?: Lots, obviously, for Cheryl Cole, or Cheryl Tweedy, or Cheryl Fernandez-Versini... or whatever
What's in a name?: Lots, obviously, for Cheryl Cole, or Cheryl Tweedy, or Cheryl Fernandez-Versini... or whatever
Drama: Perdita Weeks as Vanessa in the first episode of 'Rebellion' last weekend

Anne Marie Scanlon

For the past few months, rumours have circulated that Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's marriage is on the rocks. Recent reports in the British press claim that the Geordie lass is "desperate" to make her marriage work. .

Well, what woman wouldn't be "desperate" to save a marriage less than two years old? But whatever her private and personal feelings, Cheryl should be desperate to keep her second marriage a going concern, because if it fails, what, in the name of God, is she going to call herself? In the past decade she's gone from Tweedy to Cole, back to Tweedy and then to Fernandez-Versini, taking each of her husband's names.

'Oor Sherl' is obviously a romantic, but not that canny a lass. She makes her living in the media, but it looks like she has never heard of branding - unlike Angie Bowie, former spouse of all round icon David.

Now there's a woman who knows the power of a name as, despite being divorced for 35 years, Angie has kept her married name.

Angie is now incarcerated in the Celebrity Big Brother house purely because her last name is Bowie. She knows it, we know it, but it's fitting, as Angie helped manufacture modern pop culture. So, if Cheryl (Insert Name Here) makes good her threat to record a new album, we know who to blame.

Do as I say not as I do: Enda's guide to politics

It's nice of Enda Kenny to support the British Prime Minister's decision to allow his Cabinet colleagues the right to vote according to their consciences when it comes to the forthcoming referendum on EU membership.

As the Taoiseach wisely said last week during a trade mission to Holland, "This is an issue that people are going to feel really strongly about, and there is flexibility."

It's a reminder of that time when he himself was faced with the same division in his party over abortion and magnanimously agreed to differ with then junior minister Lucinda Creighton and others … no, wait, he didn't. Fine Gael actually expelled anyone who voted against the party line. Oops. Still, it's the thought that counts.

Of course, Enda had a much bigger majority back then than David Cameron, so he could afford to lose the odd TD here and there; but as he faces into an election in the next few weeks at which he may have to rely on the support of former Fine Gaelers such as the leader of the new Renua party, he could be forgiven for remembering the prophetic words of Captain Renault in Casablanca: "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Some day they may be scarce."

You'd think the Taoiseach would be a bit more ticked off with the Brits. Here we are, about to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising, and they're trying to bring back the border with a bang by flirting with Brexit. Talk about one-upmanship. We can't have any fun without the neighbours trying to spoil it.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Downton was never this good

Well there's Sunday night sorted. You period drama junkies out there must have been dreading a new year without Downton Abbey. Even if the final series was like flogging a dead aristocrat. (Still a popular pursuit in certain circles of the Tory party, by all accounts.)

But the next few Sunday nights are going to be period drama heaven. First up you have War and Peace on the BBC. The first episode last Sunday was full of meaningful glances and heaving bosoms. And that was just the men. It was gripping and fun and provocative with some outstanding performances and a spot of incest. So there was something for all the family, says you.

There was even more consolation for Downton junkies on RTE. People recently returned from Saturn will be surprised to hear that this is the centenary year of the 1916 rising. The rest of us have been expecting a big drama production about the whole shindig for a couple of years. What we weren't expecting is that it would be really, really good. Which is the case with Rebellion on RTE One. You are always in a with a chance when the cast includes Brian Gleeson and Sarah Greene, among others. The only thing missing is suspense. Let's face it, we all know how this one ends.

Just one bit of bad news from our new favourite period dramas. Sorry about this, Dublin, but you're got nothing on St. Petersburg. The GPO is no match for the Catherine Palace in Russia, unless you need to post a letter and buy a couple of lotto tickets. And compared to some of the sets on War and Peace, Dublin Castle has the look of a service station on the M7. But who cares. Sunday night is back.

Pat Fitzpatrick

Mamma Madge at War

There can't be many people who would risk getting on the wrong side of Madonna.

But sometimes it takes the hubris of a 15-year-old boy to go where no other would dare to. The 15-year-old in question is her own son Rocco, who like a typical mardy teenager, is said to have blocked his mum on Instagram, and run away to his Dad's.

According to the tabloids, Rocco's little tantrum has sparked a full-on custody war between Her Madgesty, and her ex-husband Guy Richie.

Meanwhile the boy is reported to be holed up in London with his father, refusing to return to his mother in New York. Perhaps, one might imagine, while also slamming the bathroom door and telling his mum she was "stupid and he hated her" for good measure.

Madonna, not one for half-measures, has gone a step further than simply threatening a curfew or shouting down the telephone. She went straight to the Manhattan Supreme Court. Which seems a rather strong-armed approach to telling a wayward kid to get his arse home for Christmas.

Meanwhile, the media are speculating that the boy has fallen under the influence of his father, who has sided with him against a "strict and very controlling" Madonna. Madge has responded by posting loving messages aimed at Rocco on her own social media accounts. A family PR offensive which is very likely to make a 15-year-old die of embarrassment.

Julia Molony

Rudeness on a platter

When we think of reality TV embarrassment we could call to mind those desperados knowingly having sex on camera in Big Brother, George Galloway thinking he's a cat, or any number of Jeremy Kyle episodes.

But while the average cringe muscle might have jolted a little at the sight of any of those, it goes into a full on, never-to-unclench spasm after 10 minutes of Come Dine With Me. Invite a group of people, mostly with class complexes of some sort, who fancy themselves as "characters" or "chefs", or "both", to cook for each other, then sneer at each other while they are in turn sneered at by a hyperactive voiceover. A petty amount of cash that will be hurled in the air as if it were Euromillions is at stake.

It's all both unbearable and chronically addictive. Who could forget, for instance, the woman who staggered upstairs leaving her guests to cook and staggered back down the stairs as they were finishing dessert. Or the woman who cooked road-kill rabbit while they played Turn Around Bright Eyes from Watership Down in the background?

Come Dine delivered in spades again this week after one sore loser told the winner that she should spend the money on "grace and decorum" since "you have all the grace of a reversing dump truck." He finished with, "so take your money and get off my property". (Voiceover: "Doggy bag anyone?"). If there was any justice the CDWM team would just get their Emmy on a platter now.

Donal Lynch

Another bunch of Roses

The Rose of Tralee is being revamped, but don't get too  carried away. They're not going to let 18 stone male truck  drivers enter and the mud-wrestling title decider isn't proceeding either.

Instead the Rose of Tralee is expanding, and I don't mean that in a bad way. It won't necessitate a trip to the Operation Transformation studios for some pre-contest slimming down.

Just when we thought that two live programmes over successive nights were more than enough, the powers that be are introducing an extra TV programme on the Sunday night.

Up to now the selection process to choose the 32 Rose finalists took place in Portlaoise but that's now being moved to Tralee. The procedure of whittling down the Roses from 68 to 32 will form the basis of the telly documentary.

Here's hoping that we'll witness the appearance of judges' houses where aspiring Roses demonstrate their party pieces only to be shown the door by merciless adjudicators. It's about time some quality control was applied to that awful singing and tin-whistle playing!

Or maybe they'll be locked in a Big Brother style house for a week to see who cracks under the pressure. And only the crazy back-stabbing ones are allowed through to the final!

Will Hanafin

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