Words: Eva O’Beirne
Artwork: Paul Smith
Irish TV is horrifically entertaining. And the post-boom bunch of Irish reality TV shows are no different.
We’ve compiled our top five shows that you’ve definitely forgotten about, and we’re sorry in advance for the memories we’re about to unlock.
Originally broadcast on RTÉ One in 2008, the program focused on ballerina Monica Laughman and her attempts to turn “streetwise” hip-hop dancers into elegant ballerinas in four months. At the end of the series, the dancers can make their debut in a performance of The Nutcracker with The Irish Youth Russian Ballet Company (if they make it that is).
We actually wouldn’t mind seeing a new version of this. Perhaps featuring some Irish dancers instead?
Fade Street is a funny one. It had so much potential and yet so little. The format is loosely based on the US reality TV show The Hills, and was described as “awful and brilliant in equal measure”. Supposedly “non-scripted”, the show followed the personal lives of a group of Dubliners in their 20s such as Vogue Williams. We can imagine RTÉ commissioning a similar show now about Irish influencers and TikTokers.
A plus of the show was its dedication to promoting Irish artists, both established and unknown, through the soundtrack. If you’re hungry for some real “chewing gum” type TV, you can still watch full episodes on the RTÉ player.
Not that many stars and they didn’t even go racing!
This show was a six-part series which aired in the summer of 2011 on RTÉ One. Featuring Linda Martin and Franic Brennan, several Irish personalities were shown the ropes of horse training by six established Irish trainers and then competed against each other at race meetings in Ireland. So they didn’t even get on the bleedin’ horses.
The final of the competition took place at Leopardstown, with RTÉ presenter Ella McSweeney winning the series.
RTÉ bosses have probably spent years trying to hide the title of this former weight-loss focused show from the public. Too bad, we’re talking about it now.
Presented by Mark Hamilton, the series was based on him evaluating individuals with unhealthy lifestyles. Each week, Hamilton would examine a different individual, estimate their lifespan and attempt to increase that lifespan by implementing his own techniques into a plan to improve that person’s lifestyle.
The lack of press and awareness of this show leads us to believe it wasn’t that successful.
Broadcast in August 2008 (on that channel again), the concept of the show involved thirteen celebrities running a hotel for sixteen days and nights in order to win money for their designated charities. Featuring Brian Dowling, Michelle Heaton and Jennifer Zamparelli, we have to say the psychological torture that was conducted on the “celebs” made watching this show worthwhile.
Why don’t we do shows like this anymore? The sheer panic in their eyes as they try to navigate a nudist retreat arriving unexpectedly and a wedding falling apart at the same time is priceless.
Elsewhere on District: Apartment in Athlone being advertised as “Dublin 8” on Daft.ie