Mamma mia! Podge and Rodge line up an Italian barmaid to replace Lucy
Meet the sultry Italian beauty who's filling Lucy Kennedy's shoes on the Podge and Rodge show -- Virginia Macari.
The former dress designer has nabbed the coveted RTE gig for the new season of the popular programme, the Herald can reveal.
The dusky brunette, a regular on the social pages, has managed to beat off competition from stars like Caroline Morahan and Michelle Heaton to step into the prime gig.
And that's not the only change that the Ballydung duo have planned for TV viewers -- the new series will be filmed in a traditional Irish pub.
"They have completely changed the format for the programme to freshen things up for the Autumn 2009 schedule," said a station insider.
"The new series sees Podge and Rodge selling off Ballydung Manor and buying a bar instead which is where the new series will be filmed.
"Virginia will play the part of the sexy Italian barmaid and even though she's half-Irish, she has to speak in this Italian accent the whole time."
Filming for the pilot episode took place earlier in the week, with four familiar faces venturing into Ballydung bar and subjecting themselves to the mockery of the pervy puppets.
Guests included comedian PJ Gallagher, Total Xposure judge Emma Ledden, glamour girl Claire Tully and RTE sports commentator Marty Morrissey.
And a source revealed how curvy Virginia was more than able to give as good as she got from the irreverent duo.
"She had no problem handling their filthy jokes and was well able to hold her own. Her accent slipped at one stage and she started talking in her normal Dublin accent which gave them a good laugh. But there's good chemistry between them and programme chiefs seem very happy with the new format," the source added.
Prior to landing the RTE slot, bubbly Virginia was working as a designer and divided her time between here and Marbella.
She has been dating Norwegian record producer Kaste Dahl for the past year but recently came home to catch up with old pals -- and land the new broadcasting job.
A few months ago, she completed filming on a new movie entitled Doll which was directed by Paolo Borza and saw her take on the lead role of an aging beauty queen.
Virginia has also been managing her gorgeous niece Alessia as she helps her carve out a career for herself in the music world.