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Not end of the world for our TV celebrities

The time is ripe. The moment of truth will soon be upon us. The world will end on Friday, December 21 -- or at the very least there will be some big, cataclysmic event that will change things utterly.

Whether you should bother nipping to the shops and getting something in for dinner that day remains unclear, however, since nobody can agree on the exact time everything will be going belly-up. Could be while you're in the shower. Could be just as Ryan Tubridy is about to announce details of this week's Late Late Show competition.

It's coming, though, just as the Mayan prophesies, er, prophesy. We know this for sure because Ashton Kutcher told us it's so.



SCHOLARS

Yes, it's true that scholars who've studied the culture and beliefs of the ancient Maya civilisation in great depth say this is all bunkum and that there's nothing written down to indicate that anything more dramatic than a rush for last-minute Christmas presents will happen on December 21.

But come on, who would YOU believe: a bunch of musty academics who spend all their time stuck in libraries, or the star of Two and a Half Men and That 70s Show?

And Kutcher is not the only TV star advocate of the 2012 theory. William Roache, aka Ken Barlow off Coronation Street, is another believer.

So is Downtown Abbey's newest recruit, Shirley MacLaine. All this raises an important, deeply troubling question: if we assume that not everyone is going to survive December 21 (because an apocalypse without any casualties would be just silly), who will be left on our television screens after that fateful date?

It's been said that, in the event of a global thermo-nuclear war, the only creatures still standing afterwards would be cockroaches, which have been around in some form or another for at least 300 million years, surviving wars, famines, plagues, comets, revolutions, the Ice Age and Rentokil exterminators.

Personally, I think Norah Casey will be around, too. It's unthinkable at present to imagine television without her. Tempting, mind you, but unthinkable.

She's a regular on Dragons' Den. She's the co-host, alongside Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, of the Friday edition of RTE's new afternoon show Today. Last weekend she was the guest on The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne. And just for good measure, she's on Newstalk Breakfast every morning.

In no time at all Norah has joined that small, elite group of personalities -- Gaybo, Blathnaid, Grainne Seoige, Kathryn Thomas, Craig Doyle -- who spread themselves across TV like human Polyfilla and fill every available gap in the schedule.



gumption

From these six specimens the post-21/12/12 TV planet will be repopulated.

Gaybo being the oldest and wisest of them, he'll know that mathematical probability favours the guy with sufficient gumption to make a play for the most attractive woman in the group when others fear rejection.

I can picture him now in the brave new world to come, his head resting on a scorched rock, a post-coital cigarette dangling from his lips as he smiles at Grainne and says, "Well done, well done . . ."

>fox in a fix There were many things to savour about the TV coverage of the US Presidential Election, but none more satisfying than watching the faces of the right-wing, Obama-hating liars and jackals of Fox News rapidly drop as they realised Mitt Romney's bid for the White House was as dead as Sarah Palin's intellect.

As a colleague pointed out to me, these wonderful images have been collected on The Atlantic Wire website. Just Google, 'The sad faces of Fox News'. Every bit as fun as the visuals was the nonsense pouring forth from their mouths. "The white establishment is now the minority," moaned the nauseating Bill O'Reilly.

Yeah, and this is a bad thing because . . ?

> the rove clone Another Fox News highlight was watching Karl Rove, the mastermind behind George W Bush's sordid 2000 campaign, which dragged democracy through the gutter, desperately, pathetically refusing to accept that Romney had lost in Ohio, even though Fox's own backroom team of number crunchers had said it was a lost cause. Watching Rove blustering and bullshitting (you can enjoy the clip on YouTube), I was trying to pinpoint who he reminds me of. And suddenly a bulb lit up: put comedian Neil Delamere in a fat suit and you have a Rove clone.

>comic strop

There's an old adage about boxers: They never come back. Sadly, comedians sometimes do.

On Wednesday, 30 years, almost to the day, after The Comic Strip's Five Go Mad in Dorset aired on Channel 4's opening night, the same cast -- Peter Richardson, Adrian Edmondson, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, plus a new Timmy the dog -- returned in Five Go to Rehab, this time on satellite channel Gold.

A painful, eerily unfunny attempt by once-vital comedy performers to recapture old glories, it proved that you're often better off watching the TV clips that play on a loop in your memory.


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