Michael O'Doherty: Charlize shows her heart of gold

Michael O'Doherty

It always struck me that Irish actor Stuart Townsend was the Brian McFadden of movies. A good looking, moderately talented Irishman who had somehow managed to bag himself a fiancée more beautiful and successful than himself.

But while McFatten has managed to cling on to his better half, Townsend has had to dream of what might have been. After nine years of having being on her arm, as her career went stellar, he was given his marching orders by Charlize Theron earlier this year.

And how it must have irked him to read the demand that Charlize now finds herself in. At a charity auction in support of her own Africa Outreach Project, she managed to encourage a bid of €15,000 for a couple of tickets to a basketball game by promising to accompany the lucky bidder.

She has proven herself to be not only beautiful, and eligible, but also to have a heart of gold.

Of course, we didn't need to be reminded that she is happy to put herself out in order to benefit the poor unfortunates of society.

After all, Charlize has proved this by going out with Stuart for nine years.

Cullen should have told these losers to p*** off on Day 1

If you ever wondered about the quality of candidates in this year's Apprentice, consider the following. Newly evicted Will McCreevy has applied his entrepreneurial know-how, and come up with a website called hiremiddleman.ie.

He will source anything you want -- a car or house -- and will also renegotiate debts, provide business consultancy etc. Actually, he'll probably clean your carpets if you ask him nicely.

So at a time when people aren't buying cars or property, and are trying to cut down on costs, Will sets up a business to offer you something you don't want, at an extra cost you can't afford.

Which prompts the question -- can you fire somebody twice?

The problem is that The Apprentice, which reaches its finale next Monday, is billed as 'the ultimate job interview', when it's nothing of the sort. If it were, Bill Cullen would have stared down at the 16 candidates before him on day one, and told them all to p**s off.

The Apprentice is entertainment, pure and simple, and as such it is utterly gripping. But is it just me, or is this year's show flagging?


Does the editing seem more contrived than before, with one candidate after another complaining that scenes were left in or taken out to deliberately influence our opinions of candidates?

Does the commercial side of the show not seem even more jaw-droppingly blatant, with endless product placement?

Everything is a plug. The venues where they meet -- "The candidates arrive in Clongriffin, a new development on the Northside of the city" -- the hotel where to go to 'brainstorm', the prizes the winning team get. There isn't a square inch of TV screen wasted in creating revenue for the producers. Hell, even when they won an iPad, it was bizarrely presented to them in a bag bearing the branding of a jewellers. Because Apple aren't a sponsor, but the jewellers are...


Yes, the producers need to make a show, but do they need to make a show of themselves in the process?

We can, ultimately, deal with Bill's increasingly obvious tough-guy act, the laughable cliches such as "stepping up to the plate"and "thinking outside the box", and the skewing of reality for the sake of drama.

All of this comes with the territory.

There must be dozens of smart, charismatic people out there right now who would kill for a good job and a €100k salary. Next year, try a bit harder to find them...

Rank hypocrisy of Ivan Yates

Of all the Budget-related misery, surely nothing was quite as nauseating as former Government minister turned bookie and radio presenter, Ivan Yates, below, giving his tuppence worth.

"The fatal flaw in the Budget is its lack of fairness." he wrote. "Michael O'Leary can still receive child benefit, and Fergal Quinn can still hold a travel pass. It's millionaire madness."

Madness along the lines of the millionaire businessman, who has repeatedly refused to give up the ministerial pension he's been drawing for the past eight years, and which cost the taxpayer €50,000 last year, while pontificating about the Government wasting money? Remind you of anyone, Ivan?

New tax won't hit you, Ronan

Ronan Keating was walking around Malahide with a glum look on his face yesterday, prompting speculation that the slashing of the Artists Exemption tax law, which used to give him almost tax-free status, is what's getting him down.

It doesn't quite add up to me. After all, musicians now have to pay tax on all earnings over €40,000, which is the equivalent of him selling 3,000 CDs in a year.

So surely Ronan still doesn't have to pay tax?

Fry's lost for words by flying Ryanair

Stephen Fry was out West yesterday for a cameo role in Ros na Run, which involved him speaking a few words in Irish. He learned his lines, apparently, by having the exact phonetic spellings of the words emailed to him.

Unfortunately for Fry, right, he was obliged to travel there by Ryanair, an experience which left him somewhat speechless. "It's very, um . . . that's to say it isn't . . . how can I best put this? Yes. Well, there you are, you see . . ." he said of his experience.

Well, let me help you with the word you're looking for Stephen, by offering you the exact phonetic spelling. It's pronounced 'krap'.