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Sinead Ryan: It's time our TV scruffs brushed up

We're all agreed that news reporter Paul Cunningham looked a complete twat when he appeared wearing what some have described as a woolly condom to present a serious news story recently.

As environment correspondent he's entitled to a few 'green' moments, but it had people spluttering into their tea and Anne Doyle keeping a straight face during the interview was beyond the call of duty.

Yes, there was a few bob made for charity out of it (well, he could hardly ever, ever, wear it again), but the 'Afghan Tribal hat' is merely the culmination of sartorial disasters on our television screens.

It started, as with most things, on the Late Late Show. Gay's choice of garish jumper for the Toy Show was legendary. Would it be knitted reindeer? Or Santa bobbles. He never ceased to horrify. These days, in the era of dressing down permanently, it seems to have translated above the neckline too.

We see half-grown beards, scruffy hair and a ragbag of scarves, hats and coats.

Now a survey finds that we viewers don't like seeing scruffy presenters. The Ask Jeeves online survey slammed badly dressed presenters and serious scruffs like Jeremy Clarkson. He topped the poll of unsightly messes along with co presenters James May and Richard Hammond and the BBC's One Show presenter, Adrian Chiles.

Chiles - linked in the past to Irish co-presenter Christine Bleakley (now there's a glam presenter) - has been attempting to grow a beard on screen.

The Top Gear boys might be playing about in cars, but viewers want to think that they made a pit stop to the dressing room between getting up in the morning and standing in front of the camera.

We're put off by public displays of scruff apparently. Certainly for news people it's distracting from what they're talking about -- although maybe that's no bad thing these days. We like our telly heads to appear smart and groomed, even if they are reporting from a windswept street or in a flood.

RTE's Paschal Sheehy got a following for a strange camouflage hat -- one blogger assumed he was going duck-hunting once his report was over.

Diarmuid Gavin might spend most of his time poking about in weeds and muck, but it's no excuse to look like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards. Someone introduce him to a haircut, -- please!

Appearing on The Panel is codeword for looking like a prat. Andrew Maxwell takes top spot for sartorial disaster with his greasy, limp girlie hair and Colin Murphy's shirts are surely a bet. You've won, Colin -- enough already.

It's hard to fault any of the ladies on the All Ireland Talent Show, and indeed, a scruffy gal is hard to find on telly at all -- they care, you see -- but Shane Lynch is a dishevelled mess.

Back in the newsroom, the anchors rarely put a foot wrong. Bryan Dobson is immaculate, every single time. Sharon Ni Bheolain is stunning.

It's a pity so, when they're interviewing one of their own that the differences are so marked. Take Charlie Bird (someone, please... etc). The US office must be fierce expensive to run because it left nothing in the budget for a nice suit. His tie-less appearance reporting on Ted Kennedy's funeral drew complaints, as did his casual attire at Obama's inauguration.

Are ties so hard to find in the capital of the freeworld?

When the BBC first started its radio service, management insisted the presenters wear full evening dress.

Take the likes of Alan Whicker who, no matter what part of the globe he was presenting from in his varied travels, always looked like he'd stepped out of a branch of Brooks Brothers.

Bruce Forsyth has never appeared on TV without a pressed, sharp suit.

It's time we said enough. If the ladies can get it right every time (Grainne Seoige's tinfoil concoction on New Year's Eve aside), then surely the lads can.

They could start with the hair and work down. Someone send in a pair of scissors and a razor please before it's too late.