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Michael O'Doherty: Fry shows why Irish language flops

It's ironic that while we were extracting maximum value from our cricket team's victory over England -- our former colonial oppressors who invented the sport -- Stephen Fry was doing something far more significant to our national pride, by shining a spotlight on the relentless decline of our national tongue.

He had a guest starring role in TG4's Ros Na Run this week, playing a British tourist who tries his hand at the inevitable 'cupla focal'.

His part was a brief one, but garnered more column inches for the soap than any other episode. So we had that most British of actors, and his shabby control of the Irish language, giving our main Irish language programme a badly needed shot in the arm. Averaging about 30,000 viewers, Ros Na Run's minuscule appeal is a sign of the irrelevance of the Irish language in most people's lives.

Its producer, Hugh Farley, even admitted this week that the show was having trouble attracting cast members, as so few actors had an acceptable standard of Irish, especially men. "We have no problem finding good-looking actresses who speak fluently," he added. So if the beauties that adorn TG4 are still not enough to draw the viewers, and they have to resort to bringing in a non-Irish speaker like Stephen Fry -- then what hope is there for the Irish language?

Drumm prize is like Amanda style class

AN Irish financial spread-betting firm is running a fantasy stock market-type competition, with players being given €20k to invest, with the person who turns the biggest profit winning a four-day trip to the US.

Part of the prize is a day-trip to Cape Cod to visit the home of former Anglo Irish boss David Drumm (above, right).

So let me get this right -- the reward for proving yourself to be an expert trader is a trip to see one of the most inept financial minds Ireland has ever produced?

It's a bit like winning the forthcoming Peter Mark VIP Style Awards and discovering that your prize involves a fashion masterclass with the All Ireland Talent Show's clueless Amanda Brunker (left).

Can we not just gag clueless talent judges?

RTE is apparently interested in broadcasting a new X Factor-type show called The Voice Of Ireland.

Similar to the All Ireland Talent Show in that it will feature four celebrity mentors, its unique appeal is that the mentors are blindfolded, meaning they can judge the acts only on their talent, and not their looks.

But why stop there? Rather than just blindfolds, how about gagging them as well?

That way, we wouldn't have to listen to the stream of inane, clueless shite that comes out of the mouth of one particular AITS judge each week...