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drugs, O’Kelly’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion might sim­ply never end. “We’d be very care­ful with who we’re deal­ing with,” one in­struc­tor tells him, as the hid­den cam­era peers up at­ten­tively to con­tra­dict him. Scan­dalously op­er­at­ing out of a vi­ta­min and health sup­ple­ment shop op­er­ated by an equally in­cau­tious body builder, both men are filmed at length openly dis­cussing their “busi­ness”. “That’s easy f**king money, that is,” says the body builder.

The other rev­e­la­tion of the pro­gramme is how lit­tle fines or cen­sure work as a de­ter­rent. One man, pre­vi­ously named in a Sport­ing Ire­land in­ves­ti­ga­tion for sup­ply­ing a pro­hib­ited sub­stance, is filmed still ped­dling the same steroids. “It’s a cost of busi­ness,” Prof Bren­dan Buck­ley says of the fines. That ought to tell you ev­ery­thing you need to know about the re­li­a­bil­ity of the mar­ket.

So what are the so­lu­tions to this steroid epi­demic? Ad­e­quate en­force­ment of the law, of­fers Prof Buck­ley. Bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion about its con­se­quences for young peo­ple, says al­most ev­ery­one else. But the ex­am­ple of one man, James Fen­nelly, hints at some­thing more rad­i­cal. Fen­nelly’s nadir came on The Late Late Show, asked to lift a car on live tele­vi­sion as Ire­land’s Strong­est Man. “It was car-crash stuff,” he says, re­fer­ring to his men­tal state at the time, rather than the seg­ment. He re­signed him­self to quit drugs im­me­di­ately after.

The Late Late Show may be an even more po­tent in­ter­ven­tion than RTÉ In­ves­ti­gates.


In the same way we watch the de­lec­ta­ble

Twenty com­pet­ing fam­i­lies are re­duced to just four for Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily (RTÉ One, Sun­day, 6.30pm), now held in that an­cient site for glad­i­a­to­rial com­bat, Croke Park.

An­drea Levy, her­self the sub­ject of a doc­u­men­tary this week, has her novel

(BBC One, Tues, Wednesday, Thurs­day, 9pm) adapted for the screen as a three-part drama set against the last days of slav­ery in 19th-cen­tury Ja­maica.


flour­ishes of TV chefs while eat­ing hob­nobs on the sofa, con­sum­ing the lav­ish dis­plays of os­ten­ta­tious wealth im­plies a sim­i­lar dis­crep­ancy.

Mak­ing next month’s rent may be a dim but per­sis­tent worry, yet for a mo­ment you can mull, semi-se­ri­ously, over whether it is wiser to buy your Gulf­stream jet with ma­hogany and di­a­mond fit­tings or just plain ol’ gold and rose­wood.

In (RTÉ Two, Thurs­day, 10pm), an adorably cheap in­ves­ti­ga­tion into im­pos­si­ble ex­trav­a­gance, pre­sen­ter Yas­mine Akram tries to bridge the vast and un­fair in­come in­equal­ity be­tween our re­al­ity and our

Bil­lion­aire B&Bs


imag­i­na­tion. A “small town Drogheda girl” sar­don­ically at ease in $50m Los An­ge­les homes, Akram’s stan­dard gag for the leath­ery real­tors of La La Land is some vari­a­tion on “I’ll take it!” which is a cruel joke to make for sales­peo­ple who clearly work on com­mis­sion.

Akram, a writer and ac­tor of no small renown, is a model of both ac­ces­si­bil­ity and un­reach­able as­pi­ra­tion, teas­ing that you, too, can have it all. But not re­ally, you big ee­jit. The show glides with her through con­spic­u­ously va­cant homes, quot­ing the­o­ret­i­cal prices, like a glori­fied ad­ver­tise­ment, while a sound­track of chill­out burps po­litely in the back­ground.

“This is like be­ing in a shop!” Akram mar­vels of one mil­lion-dol­lar closet, which, it turns out, has been de­signed to em­u­late a lux­ury store. Here it is – the house that Saks built.

It’s harder to buy the show, though, which hasn’t de­cided what it is. Bil­lion­aires don’t stay in B&Bs, Akram tells us, but if they did… In that case, show me the break­fast.

The show’s more gen­uine in­quiry is into the for­tunes of Ir­ish con­tacts who made good in LA, such as jet-hire en­tre­pre­neur Peter Le Bas, hote­lier El­lis O’Con­nor and restau­ra­teur Geral­dine Gilliland, all of whom share hum­ble brags with Akram for the ben­e­fit of the auld sod. We’ll take it!

Akram, flu­ently ironic if a lit­tle repet­i­tive, is fi­nally se­duced. Wan­der­ing through a home she adores, for all its tacky em­bel­lish­ments, she emerges more moved than she an­tic­i­pated and the bub­ble bursts in an in­stant: “I hate be­ing poor.”

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