In­stead of let­ting Janx­i­ety en­gulf us, let’s in­stead look forward to some dream telly high­lights of 2018

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS -

Let’sgetBlobby If any­one de­serves a 2018 come­back, it’s the giant marsh­mal­low of may­hem Mr Blobby. Hav­ing dis­ap­peared from our teatime telly screens in the mid-1990s, Noel Ed­monds’s phan­tom son and heir, born of Crink­ley Bottom, just needs the right light en­ter­tain­ment show to reignite his ca­reer. Now that the US seems to have grown tired of James Cor­den’s super-pow­ered smug­ness, Blobby could be the one to cap­i­talise. Who wouldn’t want to see good ol’ Blobby be­hind the wheel on Car­pool Karaoke ca­reer­ing off the road with mem­bers of Ma­roon 5 scream­ing in the back­seat as his bog­gly peep­ers dance man­i­cally in his head and his man­gled voice-box belts out She Will Be Loved? He could ef­fort­lessly take over Cor­den’s late-night chat show host du­ties; his non­sen­si­cal cry of “Blobby! Blobby! Blobby!” into the faces of guests such as Ni­cole Kid­man and Harry Styles would be in­fin­itely more palat­able than Cor­den’s empty fawn­ing.


How can we have reached the year 2018 with­out some kind of reality show star­ring Twink? She is ev­ery Real House­wife rolled into one tiny blonde fist of a woman; she is the Kris Jen­ner of panto. The UK is lit­tered with half­baked reality kids des­per­ately try­ing to cul­ti­vate a per­son­al­ity, while we in Ire­land have a star lan­guish­ing in our midst, mak­ing cakes and go­ing about her daily Twink-busi­ness with­out an au­di­ence. We were promised so much – an agony aunt spot on TV3, an RTÉ

Reel­ing in the Years-style show where it’s all Twink, all the time – but alas, nei­ther came to fruition. Let 2018 be the death of the life­style fran­chise shows about wed­ding dresses and con­trived dates, and let’s in­vest in some­thing uniquely Ir­ish: To­tally Twink.

The Alyssa Ed­wards & Marty Mor­ris­sey Va­ri­ety Show

With­out hav­ing even set foot on the dance­floor, Marty Mor­ris­sey has al­ready won the hearts of the na­tion on RTÉ’s Danc­ing with the

Stars. Whether he even­tu­ally ends up tri­umphantly tan­go­ing to vic­tory or mo­rosely moon­walk­ing out in the first round mat­ters not. This is the Marty we’ve se­cretly craved to see, a debonair dandy no longer rel­e­gated to the sport­ing side­lines, free to in­dulge his glitzy ten­den­cies and wrig­gle those per­fect brows to dizzy new heights.

Why should this cease once the show has ended? With TV3 hav­ing nabbed Michelle Vis­age for Ire­land’s Got Tal­ent, why doesn’t RTÉ re­tal­i­ate and get Marty to host a mod­ernised re­boot of the Tops of the Town va­ri­ety show with an­other RuPaul’s Drag Race alum­nus, the ir­re­press­ible Alyssa Ed­wards. Ed­wards runs the award-winning Be­yond Be­lief dance com­pany, and the two glama­zons (who bear more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to each other) could turn out some fierce moves while in­tro­duc­ing Ire­land to an ar­ray of new dance troupes and com­edy queens.


An­other show that is cry­ing out for a se­ri­ous up­date for 2018 is the moth­balling, mum­mi­fied spec­ta­cle that is the Rose of Tralee com­pe­ti­tion. No more tit­ter­ing young ladies in pretty gú­nas frosted with the finest New­bridge Sil­ver­ware, please; no more po­etry recitals or in­tel­lec­tual ba­ton-twirling in front of Dáithí Ó Sé. Bring on the boys – it’s time for The Bros of

Tralee. The young men of Ire­land can take to the stage in their flat caps and brogues and their Paul Galvin for Dunnes Stores fin­ery, as if per­form­ing in Peaky Blin­ders – the Mu­si­cal, and knock back a pint of milk in 60 seconds fol­lowed by a mam­moth break­fast roll. They can quote Scar­face and The God­fa­ther while show­boat­ing with some Conor McGre­gor MMA poses. How about chat­ting to Dáithí (or maybe Miriam O’Cal­laghan) about how many pro­tein pow­ders they take and where they get their beard trimmed be­fore the big GAA match, as their mams look on, beam­ing with pro­vin­cial pride. Lads, it’s your time to shine.


This gen­der flip is not just re­served for the boys, though. We’ve had fe­male Ghost­busters and Ocean’s 8 is about to be­come an oe­stro­gen­fest, so why not kill off the last bas­tion of truly toxic mas­culin­ity, Top Gear (a name syn­ony­mous with the smell of beery farts and the feel of sweaty cor­duroy) and re­place it with Fe­male

Top Gear. Yes, let’s re­duce ice-creamo­phobe Richard Ham­mond to tears as Jo Brand, Emma Thomp­son and He­len Mir­ren screech around in luxury cars in ex­otic lo­ca­tions. Imag­ine the joy to be found in the trio burst­ing through the wall of a men-only golf course club­house in a Ma­rauder and mak­ing cracks about sad, im­po­tent old duf­fers whose egos are as frag­ile as the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Daniel and Ma­jella’s Fes­ti­val Road Trip

It may be the end of the line for their B&B es­capades, but what about Daniel and Ma­jella’s very own Sum­mer of Love for 2018, tour­ing the fes­ti­vals of Ire­land? From Body & Soul to Beat­yard, Life and Elec­tric Pic­nic, to deal­ing with por­ta­ble loos, trench foot, raves in the woods and lo­cat­ing your tent at pain­ful o’clock – this would be part-road­trip, part-sur­vival guide. Watch as Ma­jella comes to the aid of some socket-faced young­ster at­tempt­ing to lick his own eye­balls. Cheer as Daniel valiantly fights his way through a rain-sod­den queue hold­ing three pints and still man­ag­ing to carry a du­bi­ous look­ing chicken fil­let roll with­out drop­ping any­thing. Let your eyes mois­ten with na­tional pride as they take to the stage to sing a fes­ti­val hits megamix, end­ing with a rous­ing ver­sion of Gala’s Freed from De­sire with ac­cor­dion ac­com­pa­ni­ment.


In 2017, telly got far too posh, with ev­ery­one turned into roy­al­ist syco­phants by The Crown and Vic­to­ria. Mar­ble-mouthed, dou­ble-bar­relled buf­foons lit­tered the screen like wax­work dum­mies crow­ing through their clenched teeth about the tribu­la­tions of be­ing a monarch. What’s needed for 2018 is a dose of salty real­ism – let’s get back to Bread. Carla Lane’s sem­i­nal 1980s sit­com about a work­ing­class Liver­pudlian fam­ily strug­gling to sur­vive in Thatcher’s Bri­tain could eas­ily trans­fer to to­day’s Ire­land, where whole adult fam­i­lies are still un­der one roof. There are young cou­ples like Billy and Julie forced to live at home un­able to af­ford their own house, Adrian the artist at­tempt­ing to live off grants, Joey the en­ter­pris­ing wheeler-dealer try­ing to make ends meet do­ing nix­ers on the sly. 1986 or 2018, give or take a few du­bi­ous hair­dos and shoul­der pads, Bread poignantly has not yet passed its ex­pi­ra­tion date.

Steve from Stranger Things spin-off

Steve the “pretty damn good babysit­ter” Har­ring­ton, with his en­vi­able bouf­fant hairdo, be­came the un­ex­pected break­out star from the sec­ond help­ing of Stranger Things. With his vin­tage teen heart­throb looks and sar­donic, wise-crack­ing re­la­tion­ship with Dustin, the char­ac­ter is ready for his own “choose your own adventure” style se­ries. Who cares if it’s a cheap rip-off of Ad­ven­tures in Babysit­ting ora fee­ble Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off – once those luscious locks stay in place, ev­ery­body wins.

Mar­cella and Luther Mas h-Up

Like those end­less comic-book mash-up movies or that time when She-Ra went to visit He-Man at Cas­tle Greyskull, why can’t two telly de­tec­tives whose style of polic­ing is more In­cred­i­ble Hulk than In­spec­tor Morse meet up for some smashy-smashy an­tics? Both Anna Friel’s Mar­cella and Idris Elba’s Luther sport iconic jack­ets – Mar­cella’s Parka of Pain and Luther’s Trench of Tor­ment are their equiv­a­lent of su­per­hero capes. Both mood­ily stalk around Lon­don town look­ing to put away wrong ’uns, and both have in­ter­view­ing tech­niques that would make the Sweeney blush. It’s a match made in mur­der­ous heaven.

Char­lotte Daw­son on ev­ery­thing

Pre­sent­ing News­night, pre­tend­ing to be Nigella, driv­ing the bus on Coach Trip, per­form­ing surgery on 24 Hours in A&E – who cares what the forth­right, for­mi­da­ble daugh­ter of co­me­dian Les Daw­son does once she’s on our telly screens through­out 2018? It’s guar­an­teed to be a chuf­fin’ cracker of a year.

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