Monday 24 October 2016

Pat Stacey on TV: 'Jennifer Maguire seems to be the face of RTE2 and I have no idea why'

Jennifer Maguire
Jennifer Maguire

YOU could be forgiven for thinking sometimes that the people who run RTE2 reside somewhere called Planet Jennifer, such is the ubiquity of Jennifer Maguire in the channel’s schedules.

The 33-year-old Baldoyle native’s progression through the narrow tunnel of RTE stardom has been more rapid than that of a particle whizzing along the Large Hadron Collider.

Seven years ago, she was an unknown, and rather irritating, candidate on BBC1’s The Apprentice, where she claimed to be “the best saleswoman in Europe at the moment” — the kind of bulls**t that was the norm for the programme.

Alan Sugar saw it differently and sacked her in week seven. The Guardian newspaper saw it differently again, describing Maguire (hilariously) as “an ice maiden” who resembled “someone frozen alive while chewing a wasp”.

Most of The Apprentice’s failed candidates sink like stones back into the black depths of obscurity once they’ve been ejected from the show. Not Maguire, though; at least not on her home turf, where she’s gone from being a dispensable reality show contestant to... well, it’s hard to say, frankly.

She’s demonstrably NOT a comedian, unless your definition of that job stretches to what she did on the The Republic of Telly, a show that quickly deteriorated, once original host Neil Delamere gave way to Dermot Whelan, from being a passable stab at an Irish TV Burp to an ego showroom for its narcissistic leading trio of Whelan (since succeeded by Kevin McGahern), Maguire and Bernard O’Shea.



She’s hardly an actress, either, unless you count putting on various costumes and swearing at bewildered passers-by on hidden camera show The Fear as acting.

So what is she? A presenter? That nebulous entity known as “a personality”? I don’t know. Maybe “the face of RTE2” would be closest to the mark. She’s certainly the face that’s on RTE2 more than anyone else’s.

Both The Republic of Telly and The Fear are back as part of RTE2’s autumn season, but without Maguire. Nonetheless, she’ll still be all over the airwaves like the proverbial rash.

She and Bernard O’Shea star in Bridget and Eamon, a sitcom featuring an 80s married couple they played in sketches on The Republic of Telly, which O’Shea has also quit. This comes on top of the pair’s daily stint as co-hosts of 2FM’s Breakfast Republic.

We’ve seen this tendency of RTE’s to relentlessly shove particular pet personalities in the public’s face many times before. Craig Doyle was granted several progressively aimless swings at hosting a chat show before everyone gave up. There was a time when RTE believed Katherine Lynch’s crude, half-baked shtick featuring singing Travellers was the future of TV comedy.

For a brief while, lucky Lucy Kennedy, now working for TV3, was being given shows the way the rest of us are given grocery receipts.

The current flavour of the month is Donal Skehan, the boyband boy-cook who’s being relentlessly rammed down our throats.

Maguire is different, though. Not even the failure of One Night Stand, axed by RTE after a single series and easily one of the tackiest things ever to foul up a TV screen, could stop her onward march. Back in her wasp-chewing days, there was nothing to suggest Maguire was any different to any other aggressively ambitious fame-hungry wannabe. Throw a peanut in a trendy Dublin pub and you’ll hit a dozen more just like her.

Maybe, after all, she was a better saleswoman than we or Alan Sugar knew. But whatever it is she’s selling, I’m still not buying it.

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