How five merry wives from Dublin still spark off each other after TV adventure
IF there was a water-cooler topic this week in Ireland it probably revolved around five opinionated, ambitious and very glamorous young women of a certain TV3 reality show.
Lisa Murphy, Virginia Macari, Jo Jordan, Roz Flanagan and Dr Danielle Meagher had a nation, in the grip of recession, intoxicated with their fluffy antics around Ireland and beyond.
We watched how a '6ft Viking in a Gucci suit', Kas Dahl, proposed to Virginia in a gondola in the lake in New York's Central Park with their little baby Thor along for the ride as a professional singer on the bank serenaded the young lovers.
We watched a dolled-up Jo Jordan, sitting outside a cafe, reveal to an equally dolled-up Lisa Murphy that she had a lump in her breast. And we watched as Roz Flanagan told us about being abused as a child.
It was bizarrely addictive television.
Although Lisa Murphy enjoyed a high profile before Dublin Wives, Jo Jordan from Ballymun became an overnight star with the show.
Ask Jo, who speaks with a refreshing Dublin honesty, what's it like to be suddenly a TV star, and the reply is priceless.
"I f**king love being famous," she said when I met her on Friday with the other stars of Dublin Wives.
RTE should give this woman her own show.
"I'm loving the attention! Loving it! I'm getting really famous people looking for dates with me. It's f**king great! I'm ready to go back on the dating scene," Jo, who recently became single, added.
"My mam and dad still sit on the sofa and kiss and when I go in and look at that I just say: 'I want that!'."
Lisa, the dowager countess in Downton Abbey compared to Jo's downstairs maid, chipped in: "My mother and father are the same. They are still madly in love after all these years ... " Jo interrupted her housemate – they have lived together in Jo's gated mansion in Castleknock, opposite Ben Dunne's house since Lisa broke up with Gerald Keane in November. "I think Lisa would be quite happy to meet a nine-to-five guy on the minimum wage and have a few babies."
Lisa laughed, which was probably more out of nervousness at what Jo would say next.
"Oh, I don't think so!" Lisa protested at the thought of meeting Mr Minimum Wage and not living in Drayton Manor with Mr Private Jet, Gerald Kean. "I don't think so!"
"I think she would!" Jo continued. "I'm telling you she would!"
"And you know what?" she continued in her broad Dublin accent as Lisa's face froze in terror, "they should do a show – 'Living With Lisa'."
Virginia Macari joked: "I think you have just admitted that the two of you are together."
I asked Lisa and Jo the obvious question: Have you ever got off with each other sexually? They both laugh.
"Oh, every day! Every day!" replied Jo.
A now-hysterical Lisa said: "Please!"
After four short episodes last week, Dublin Wives – sadly – ended on Thursday night. We were left wanting more. (To sate demand they were even on Brendan O'Connor's Saturday Night Show last night on RTE.)
Perhaps even the stars of Dublin Wives were left wanting more themselves, as they only received a paltry €125 per show each.
When I asked why did they do it for such a small fee, Lisa was the first to laugh. "Don't know! Still asking myself why! But it wasn't about the money," she said.
"It wasn't about the money for me either," Roz Flanagan added.
Danielle said: "The money was never a motivation. Business has been really good. That was one of my main motivations obviously, to raise the profile of my business. It has done that."
"This isn't England or the States where you get paid big money or get offers and endorsements from companies," added Virginia.
"I had my method of madness and it gave me the opportunity to promote my new fashion line – Miss V swimwear."
"It raised my brand – my make up and beauty salon – enormously too. So I'm glad I did the show," said Lisa.
How much money would TV3 have to pay you to do the show again next year?
Roz: "I'll have to ask my friend Naomi Campbell and come back to you."
Virginia: "I doubt there will be another season but if there was one, money wouldn't be the reason why I would or wouldn't do it again."
Danielle: "I think I would want a percentage or an executive producer role.
"Next season I wouldn't film scenes with some of the cast. I am not sure it would interest me to do another show. From my own point of view, obviously, it has been good for profile. I have been signed to the really big Curtis Brown Agency in London in the summer. I have been signed to the presenters' department. I did a show last year, 50 Plastic Surgery Shockers, on Channel 4 and it is great that I have management in the UK, because obviously that's where the money in TV is to be made.
"So, yes, Dublin Wives raised the profile but it was also a big hook for what I want to do in the UK.
"In addition to that I have made two different pilots that are going to two different stations over there. I am fronting a show similar to Operation Transformation in my expert field.
"They'd have to bring different cast members in and I'd imagine I'd be on other projects in the UK that are obviously much more lucrative. At the end of the day, if series three gets commissioned by TV3, they will approach my agent and I will see if I am available. Would I want to film more scenes with the four girls? No," she said.
"It is quite clear who the person is to watch and the person is who everyone wants to watch on screen. It's me. Jo is very watchable on television as well.
"I think Lisa is boring on TV. I think she is really flat TV. I don't think she is good. Jo is raw, real. When it comes down to it, some of the other scenes I felt personally were really boring. In terms of my extra presenting brand, does it make sense for me for be associated with these particular four? Possibly not. I'm grateful to TV3.
Everything is teeing up for a move to London for me. I am not as tough as I come across. I have had to have real balls of steel on the show. I wish them all well. It is when we come together that the tensions come out."
"The main positive," said Jo, "is that we are going to Dublin Airport now and we have two channels and an agent from England who is very very interested in us. We know we have reached the UK. That is very positive."
What view do you think the Irish people formed of each of you from watching Dublin Wives?
Lisa: "That I am compassionate. I think people had a perception of me before the show and I think that has now changed. People have come up to me on the street and said: 'You are a lot different than I expected you to be'."
"I live in Malahide," added Roz, "and it is a small area so people would know me before the show. Though a lady came up to me in Malahide this morning and said she knew me from the show.
"That was nice."
Virginia: "I'd like to think that they see me as down-to-earth. I was totally myself the whole time."
Jo: "I'd like to think they see me as a strong woman who wears her heart on her sleeve."
Roz: "Judging by Twitter, as the show went on I was stylish, a real mum,very honest. . . living a real life.
"What you see is what you get."
What you see is certainly what you get with the Dublin Wives.
They are implacably grounded and fun to be with, as I found out last week in a suite at La Stampa Hotel – all five of them dressed as if they were going to the Oscars,
Lisa, in Diane Von Furstenberg; Roz, in Alexandra McQueen boots and designer jeans; Jo, wearing a leather blazer, skinny jeans and rock 'n' roll hat; Virginia in something designer and Italian; and Danielle as sheer glam.
They were full of craic, with no regrets about doing the show.
"No regrets at all. I think Dublin Wives showed Ireland these different women and our different personalities," said Lisa.
"There are great memories for me of doing the show. I loved New York. I loved meeting the girls and the friendships I made with Jo and Virginia and Roz."
"My highlight was probably meeting Lisa," said Jo.
"I had the baby on the show," added Virginia. "I got engaged on the show. It was a really big part of my life. So those were my highlights."
Roz said she enjoyed the experience, especially because she was able to speak about the abuse she suffered as a child.
"I spoke about it through the work I do with Cari to help others who have suffered," she said.
What did you learn about yourself or each other.
Danielle: "That I'm funny and that Dublin Wives was a great vehicle to showcase my personality."
Virginia: "I learned that I'm a real woman's woman and I love my girlfriends."
Roz: "I learnt that I am very calm, patient person and we are all very different in our ways."
Jo: "I learned how honest I am and how much girls need girls. I learned how to deal with unpleasant people."
Who is your favourite Dublin Wife?
Roz: "Virginia is beautiful and we have lots in common. Jo and Lisa are wonderful and we had great times together. I consider them all close friends."
Danielle: "Of all the people here, Jo is the one that I love the most.
"My favourite person is Jo. That's the reality. I'm broken-hearted what happened with Jo," Danielle said, referring to the apparent breakdown of her friendship with her co-star.
"It's you that I care about," she said, directly addressing Jo. "It is my friendship with you that I care about."
Lisa: "This isn't a friendship, Danielle, the way you speak about her."
Danielle, who has been crying, replied: "You don't know the friendship I had with Jo before the cameras even started rolling. I miss that and I miss her."
Danielle: "Jo, because she was the one person I clicked with the most and I'm really sad that we fell out."
If you all had Enda Kenny's job as Taoiseach in the morning, what immediate changes would you implement?
Lisa: "Look after the people of Ireland properly."
Roz: "Ladies' tax-free shopping every Saturday."
Virginia: "Free health care."
Jo: "Free shoes! Girl power!"
Danielle: "I'd rather be President. It is an easier gig. I wouldn't be averse to being President when I get a little bit older, but," she said, laughing as she did so: "I have to gain a little bit more diplomacy before I go into that role."