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Michael O'Doherty: Ungrateful Brucie bites the hand that fed him

I hate hypocrites. Two-faced, lying little toerags who turn on the charm to get what they want, then slag you off when you're no longer of use to them.

People like former Today Tonight autocue reader Mark Little.

But to that short list you can now add the legendary Bruce Forsyth. In an interview this week, he's quoted as saying he "regrets doing so many game shows", gracelessly admitting that he felt they were beneath him -- "You can do a series in two weeks, then take as much time off as you like. Money for old rope."

Strangely enough, I never imagined Bruce to be a supremely talented artiste who was demeaning himself with game shows. They seemed to suit his matey, lowest common denominator style perfectly. He's deluding himself if he thinks otherwise, and he's insulting his audience by airing his thoughts so openly.

People like Marty Whelan, Derek Mooney and Gay Byrne have felt, I'm quite sure, that they're better than some of the shows they've been asked to present. But you'll never hear them slagging them off, not now or even in the twilight of their years, as they've enough class to know that you should never bite the hand that feeds you, and enough generosity to be grateful for the well-paid work they've been offered.

I used to like Forsyth. Now I think of him as an older, albeit more talented version of Mark Little. Which is no compliment in any man's language.

The nauseating 'celebs' gagging to get a place on Big Brother

There are few TV shows that get it right. Start slowly, build up your following, become a hit and then, at the very top of your game, quit.

Fawlty Towers did it. So did Seinfeld. But the majority of shows just can't help themselves, and in overstaying their welcome, we all end up hating them or, even worse, being completely indifferent to them.

Big Brother is a perfect example. And in a desperate attempt to milk the franchise for all its worth, the producers are now planning an Ultimate Champion version, to be aired at the end of the summer, which will see the 15 most popular contestants from the show coming back together for one last, three-week hurrah.

And already in the past week, former Irish BB contestants Brian Dowling and Noirin Kelly have pondered aloud as to whether they would do it. Well at least Brian has "pondered", attempting to make us believe that he's "still thinking" about it.



JUMBO

Oh puh-leeze Brian, stop being so coy ... we know you've got your bag packed already, right down to the jumbo pack of Monster Munches that you're taking in with you as your 'luxury item'. At least Noirin has the honesty to admit that she's hoping the BB team offer her an invitation, so that she can bite their hand off...

But the motivation to do this show is baffling -- the feeling that 'getting your face out there' will miraculously mean a big TV show will present itself.

It's deeply ironic that the very people who know that shows like this don't automatically lead to any kind of a successful career -- the former Big Brother contestants -- are the ones clambering over each other to go back for an encore.

All the Irish ones, I suspect -- Tom, Brian, Ray, Orlaith, Spiral, Seanie and Noirin (yep, I remember them all) -- are gagging to be on board, except ironically for the one Irish person who's made a decent career for herself post-BB -- Anna Nolan.

What makes the concept of this Ultimate show all the more nauseating is that all the other contestants, having already been through a Big Brother series, will now know how to preen for the cameras, play act for the public, all in the hope that the producers of the next Celebrity Come Dine With Me In The Dark show will be watching, and maybe give them a gig.

When deep down, if they had any self-awareness, they should know from their own previous experience that their efforts will amount to nothing.

Tuppence

Ultimately, there is only one person we'd tune into this Ultimate Big Brother to see, and it's the one person that we know will absolutely, positively, and sadly not be there.

So here's my tuppence worth for the Irish formers stars.

Never go back.

Not to old lovers. Not to old workmates.

And certainly not to 'the thing that made you famous', especially when it's the Big Brother House.

TDs' cheap booze leaves bitter taste

Figures revealed this week show that the bar and restaurant in Dail Eireann is experiencing a boom, and turning over an unheard of profit. And we should all rejoice ... Am I missing something here?

The Dail offers cut-price food and drink to our 'hard-working' deputies, and has done so for many years, the reason given for this being that as a non-profit company, it can charge less and still pay its share of excise duty and tax to the Exchequer. So while it benefits the TDs, the public doesn't lose anything.

Well, if I may bring a point of order to these moronic chancers that make up our elected assembly, that's complete b*llox. It is plainly in the interests of the bar's customers that the prices are kept low, because they're getting cheap booze and pork chops. But why, instead of subsidising already overpaid and underworked politicians, doesn't the bar charge full prices to its customers, and put the now substantial profit to good use?

Give it to a charity... give it to the Exchequer... hell, give it to anybody. Just stop giving it back to our boozy, nose-in-the-trough TDs. I'm quite sure I speak for most people when I say that they don't deserve it.


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