Thursday 14 December 2017

Anna Nolan: TV can be a cruel and fickle place, as Dermot O'Leary has just found out

Dermot O'Leary
Dermot O'Leary
Woman with wine glass
50 Shades of Grey
Packie Bonner

Was he pushed or did he jump?

Well one thing is certain - Dermot O'Leary is no longer the presenter of The X Factor and as in most cases like this, the press releases are saying that he quit.

But some reports beg to differ, stating that Simon Cowell wanted him off the hit show.

Whether O'Leary left of his own volition or not (personally I'd say he was pushed), the Irishman is now in a very tricky position.

To come back, after being at the helm of a hugely successful show, is difficult and something very few presenters can do.

When Davina McCall, who made her name with Big Brother, was axed from Channel 4, many thought it would be impossible for her to continue to be the big star she is.

But in fairness to her, she bounced back, landing Long Lost Family and also The Million Pound Drop, one a studio show and one a show that is filmed on location - both hugely successful. But Davina is a rare talent.

When Grainne Seoige presented The All Ireland Talent show, she was at the peak of her career. She did a perfectly good job at being the leading lady on a prime time talent show.

Like X Factor, there is not a huge requirement for a big personality from the host, and so she interviewed, read out autocue and introduced acts perfectly.

But the show was axed, and so was she. She was never going to get a gig on the replacement show, The Voice of Ireland, because she and The All Ireland Talent Show were one.

The same happened with Brian Ormond and You're a Star. Again, Brian is a very accomplished broadcaster who delivered the lines and the smiles perfectly to the audience. But once that show went, so did he.

Getting the job as a presenter on a big entertainment show is a double edged sword. For the time you are there, you are top dog. If it goes, you will more than likely go with it.

I am sure Kathryn Thomas is a little nervous these days. The Voice of Ireland is doing brilliantly in the ratings, but she will be very aware that her name is synonymous with the show.

To bring in a new show to replace The Voice would more than likely mean a brand new presenter.

I hear that Caroline Flack and Olly Murs are the possible replacements for Dermot O'Leary on The X Factor.

These two were a match made in heaven when they presented The Xtra Factor and I think they would bring a fresh, fun feel to the show.

As for Dermot, well maybe he is looking to work in the States. Or maybe he will get stuck into some other genre in telly.

But I would say his days on a big entertainment show days are over.

O'Leary is a wonderful talent, but he works in a cruel, fickle business.


I'm all for the Good Friday booze ban, just to see how the drinkers react

The fear is already setting in. There were murmers by some friends of mine last week that they were counting down to the disaster.

Yes, Good Friday is approaching and the pubs will be closed for a whole day. A whole day. No alcohol, no pints, no fun (in a bar at least). How are we going to survive?

Just like The Angelus on RTE, there are some Irish Catholic traditions that have refused to go away. Is the mass closing of pubs on Good Friday something that belongs in the 21st century?

We never really went to the local pub as a family when we were growing up, so I don't remember the angst of this alcohol-free day being an issue when I was young. Then I moved to Edinburgh, at the age of 22, and as this rule didn't apply over there, I wasn't fully aware of the hoo haa that would go on every year back home.

It was only when I returned to Ireland in 2003 that I saw how people would get around this day.

Woman with wine glass

Mainly they would buy crates, kegs and truck loads of beer, wine and spirits and have an all-day session in their homes.

Then there was that huge uproar a few years back when a Leinster-Munster rugby match was being played in Limerick on Good Friday and the local pubs went crazy, saying they would miss out on revenue up to €6m.

A case was taken by the pub owners and they won. They were allowed to serve alcohol in Limerick on Good Friday, the first time since 1927.

I think it is funny how we get so upset about this day of abstinence. I believe a barge on a canal somewhere in Dublin can legally sell drinks, and someone mentioned to me that a pop-up blow-up bar, similar to a bouncy castle, might be able to get around the law.

We have such a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol in this country - and the way that Good Friday sends shivers down our spines shows this.

But I, for one, like that this rule is still in place, even to see how it sends the lushes of this island go into meltdown.


Who's next to take on Christian Grey?

So, Sam Taylor-Johnson is not returning to direct the second instalment of Fifty Shades of Grey. I'm not surprised. To be honest, I thought it was one of the worst directed movies in a long time.

50 Shades of Grey

There was nothing clever or beautiful about the direction - it was as subtle as a horse crop whipping a beach ball. Regardless of the weak acting by Jamie Dornan and the appalling script, Taylor Johnson seemed to just stick the camera in the actors faces and let them talk. Where was the direction?

I wonder if she was in any way restricted by the writer EL James? By all accounts they had a fraught relationship. So who will take over? Will it be another art house director or some blockbuster maestro who will have CGI bursting out of Christian Grey's dungeon?


No repeat of glory days of  Italia '90

I had a great evening last Sunday watching the soccer in a pub called Sober Lane in Ringsend. I hadn't been to a bar to watch football in quite a while and the Polish and Irish fans were in super form.

Packie Bonner

Myself and my friends ended up reminiscing about Italia '90 and where we all were for the matches.

I was working in the Coombe Hospital as a domestic. I recall how the staff took over one of the empty wards, where we watched Packie Bonner save that famous penalty kick.

Those really were the days. Given the one-all draw we witnessed last Sunday though, it's unlikely we'll see any similar heroics soon with current Irish team!

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