A selection of the world’s best hunks and hunkettes were placed on an island where they took instructions from an anonymous producer and were encouraged to fall in love and play mind games and hopefully have sex in front of ‘the general public’.

The sun set on LI2017 last night. It was the pinnacle of our televisual achievements

The behaviour of members of An Garda Síochána is in focus at the moment. Trust in policing has been damaged by a number of controversies. Children in the inner city were ahead of the curve on this distrust. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Inner-city teenagers say they are constantly stopped by gardaí, even when wearing their school uniform

Jessica Fletcher, a hero steeped in death

Before the Doctor, we had to rely on the Golden Girls for female role models

"Everything you do, you worry in case you’re exposed in some way."

Some 5,000 young people here are growing up Irish but live in fear of being forced to leave home because of their undocumented sta(...)

The People’s debate with Vincent Browne. Photograph: Brian McEvoy/TV3

Vincent Browne's panels became a sort of provisional government and each episode a purge

Ahead of season seven, here’s everything you need to know about the ground-breaking fantasy drama

Dara Ó Briain: 'On a spectrum from ranting and raving to urbanely quippy, I would hope in real life I’m more like the latter.' Photograph: Alan Betson

The ‘Mock the Week’ host on Irishness, Britishness and life as the voice of reason

Chilling timeliness:  Elizabeth Moss as Offred  in The Handmaid’s Tale

And with an ennui-filled wave of my cigarette holder, I present the best television shows of 2017, so far

Cartoonist Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow. Photograph: J.P. Trostle

Cartoonist Dan Perkins: It’s hard coming up with something crazier than what's actually going on

Justin Trudeau at boxing gym in Toronto. Photograph: Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Canadian prime minister is visiting Ireland. Is he the most lusted-after modern leader?

Dead-eyed art curator: Julia Stiles in Riviera. Photograph: Sky

Neil ‘Big Deal’ Jordan has disowned the hit drama, but we’re not certain that his version would have been any better

‘Phil Collins fandom never took off in the way say, being a Curehead or a metalhead did.’ Photograph: Jean Catuffe/GC Images

Phil Collins, who plays Dublin on Sunday, is hip again – but for Patrick Freyne he always was

The cast of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’: ‘The actors can’t act. They keep accidentally breaking the fourth wall or blanking their lines or forgetting that their characters are meant to be dead’

The actors occasionally get into physical fights with one another or get knocked unconscious by malfunctioning props

Compared to Richard O’Brien’s sartorial madness, Richard Ayoade’s bright red suits seem almost bank-managerial.

Remember Mumsy, the strange lady in the Medieval Zone who divined the future?

The Maori have tribal tattoos; the Indians have henna skin dye. We prefer to adorn ourselves with sun damage from neck to ears and fingertip to bicep

Never mind Beckett or Joyce or Sinéad O’Connor or Love/Hate, these are the things that truly make us Irish

Jack Laugher and Chris Mears of Great Britain celebrate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Young men now touch each other more than in the 1990s, and it’s intimate not sexual

Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) and saintly wife Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson). Photograph: Robert Viglasky

The melodramatic, gripping, entertaining series is back, writes Patrick Freyne

David Simon on Donald Trump: “I’ve never seen a more astonishingly ill-equipped human being to lead a nation.” Photograph: Matt McClain/Washington Post via Getty Images

TV writer on decline of journalism, rise of Trump and bringing the Pogues to the stage

 Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the miniseries The Kennedys: After Camelot which aiirs on RTE on Friday. Photograph: Ken Woroner/Reelz via AP

Meanwhile, Katie Holmes dons an enchanted Jackie Kennedy wig that gives the bearer notions

Milo Yiannopoulos at an alt-right rally in May. His time is over says Angela Nagle: ‘The problem is they didn’t actually have any ideas.’ Photograph: Susan Watts/NY Daily News via Getty Images

The movement that began as a collective of trolls and anti-feminists is changing again

Power couple: the Underwoods contemplate their evil empire in the new series of House of Cards. Photograph: Netflix

Frank and Claire Underwood’s return is a reminder of a time before the Trumpocalyse

‘I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms,’ says Daenerys Targaryan, channelling Simon Coveney

The new ‘Game of Thrones’ trailer features dragons, sexy bits and millennial entitlement

Andrew Neil interviewing the supreme leader of Oceania Theresa May on BBC1 on Monday

Britain is just a pawn in the British PM’s hellmouth game, but at least David McWilliams can laugh in the face of the apocalypse

Teenagers from Dublin's inner city and Blackrock College at the Swan Youth Services music group

Inner-city Dublin teenagers and boys from Blackrock College meet every week to make music and gain a greater understanding of each(...)

“Time for a comeback, Diane”: Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks

The imminent reboot of Twin Peaks makes this a damn fine time to look at some other groundbreaking TV shows

Portugal’s Salvador Sobral celebrates with his sister Luisa after winning  the Eurovision song contest  in Kiev, Ukraine. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

‘Yes, Eurovision is silly but if you dislike it you’re basically a monster’

Israel’s IMRI performs with the song “I Feel Alive” during a dress rehearsal on Friday for the Eurovision final at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

For once, music and fun takes pride of place ahead of politics in Ukraine

 Irish Eurovision entrant Brendan Murray performing at the Eurovision semi-final. Photograph: Andres Poveda.

Vocalist, managed by Louis Walsh, says Kiev experience the ‘best 3 minutes of my life’

The bookies do not anticipate that Ireland’s Brendan Murray will make it to the final.  Photograph: Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Patrick Freyne: The odds are not looking good that 'sweet-voiced infant balloonist' Brendan Murray will make it to the final

Brendan Murray performs  “Dying to Try” at a dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest’s second semi-final  in Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

The 20-year-old hopes to rise above the competition in the second semi-final in Kiev

 Irish Eurovision hopeful Brendan Murray  with some local fans  out and about in Kiev, Ukraine,  ahead of the  Eurovision semi-finals starting from Tuesday night. Photograph: Andres Poveda

‘Eurovision is just entertainment, but it is important. It shows life is almost as usual’

More than 700 gay rights activists marched through central Kiev on June 12th, 2016 amid a massive police presence. Photograph: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

As a gay activist, Zoryan Kis knows how dangerous life can be in Ukraine

Daniel O’Donnell: “I think whether somebody likes my music or not they look up and say, ‘Well, that fecker up there is having a ball.’”  Photograph: Dave Meehan

Patrick Freyne meets the singer and the fans who would ‘smother their mother’ for him

Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie  in the new series of Dr Who. Photograph: BBC

The Doctor encounters a cosmic puddle in need of help – and then the Daleks roll up

The Dubliners members John Sheahan Kenna, Barney McKenna, Eamonn Campbell and Ronnie Drew in the Shelbourne Hotel in 1992. Photograph: Pat Langan

Former owner of O’Donoghue’s pub Dessie Hynes recalls other Good Fridays

Donal’s Lottery Island: no sign of an insurgency

You can learn a lot reading between the lines during the telly ad breaks

In 1998 transgender singer Dana International won the competition for Israel with her song ‘Diva’. Photograph: Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

Russia and Ukraine are not the only countries with form when it comes to Eurovision controvery

 Gavin Duffy, Eleanor McEvoy, Alison Cowzer, Chanelle McCoy and Barry O’Sullivan from the new series of Dragon’s Den. Photograph: RTÉ/Ruth Medjber

Nowadays, it has all the pizzazz of a business studies course and could be plausibly renamed Rich People Doing Sums

Paul Brady: will join a formerly homeless man, Danny Bracken, on stage at Rock against Homelessness. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Of Ireland’s more than 7,000 homeless people about one-third are children

Danny Bracken, a musician who is homeless, will be playing at Rock Against Homelessness concert in Dublin on April 7th. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Homeless musician Danny Bracken to join stars for Rock Against Homelessness

A lot in common: Mrs Brown and RuPaul. Photographs:  Graeme Hunter/Logo TV

All Round to Mrs Brown's is the kind of programme it's possible to love and hate at the same time

Piers Morgan and Nigel Farage: a pink sycophantic hippo-thing coaxing gibberish from the wide zip-like mouth of a yellow, goggle-eyed wonk

Patrick Freyne: Zippy flaps his muppety head in rage when George brings up UKIP’s racist and homophobic views

Julia, a character with autism, will make her Sesame Street debut on April 10th, on both PBS and HBO. Photograph: Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop via AP

Through new character, children will learn not to be frightened by certain behaviour

The  Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which stores “cephalons”, or frozen heads and other body parts, ready for hopeful reanimation. Photograph: Laura Segall/New YorkTimes

Mark O’Connell has spent several years talking to people who want to live through robots and technology, and he admits it stems fr(...)

Nephews of former Bishop of Galway Eamonn Casey carry his coffin to the crypt at Galway cathedral on Thursday. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Former bishop’s good works remembered before burial in Galway cathedral crypt

Celina and Ben tie the know in Ikea.  ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’. Photograph: RTE

Patrick Freyne: Who thinks getting married in Ikea is a good idea? This groom-to-be does...

The Ryan Gosling ‘lookalike’

A less-than-convincing Gosling ‘lookalike’ accepted an award for La La Land. Germany was not amused

Pure filth: Daniel and Majella’s ‘B&B Road Trip’. Photograph: RTÉ

Majella and Daniel O’Donnell’s B&B Road Trip has returned, this time on RTÉ

 A pedestrian crossing signal in Melbourne, Australia. Ten such lights are being installed to address unconscious gender bias. Photograph: Stefan Postles/Getty Images

There are music and comedy events, a march and a strike in Ireland on International Women’s Day

 Mobilised:  Irish protest was galvanised by the campaign against water charges. Photograph: Mart Klein/Ikon/Getty

Populism – the set of ideologies that has given the world Donald Trump, Brexit and Marine Le Pen – has transformed the politics of(...)

‘Action historian’ Dan Snow presents 1066: A Year to Conquer England: “Next week he will probably explore what it feels like to hunt and kill a man.”

From Dan Snow in 1066 to the Nazis in SSGB and beyond – say ’Allo ’Allo to the history of Great Britain in five TV shows

There is no legal requirement for employers to test  for intoxicants – or for employees to submit to such tests. Photograph: Getty Images

Workplaces are less tolerant of drinking, but it is hard to prove an employee is intoxicated

Lena Dunham: Girls was cursed with importance. As its importance wanes, we can stop wondering about the significance of each detail

Lena Dunham’s Girls, complete with uneroticised nudity, awkward sex and millennial angst, is back

Care-system kid: “It’s scary,” Jasmine Mooney says, “the idea of living on your own without a ma and da.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill Jasmine Mooney recalls sitting in social workers’ offices for hours as they tried finding a home for her. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Six people who grew up in State care in Ireland talk about the challenges of their childhoods and early-adult lives

 Mark Zuckerberg: ‘an important man who owns many, many tight-fitting t-shirts and, more than likely, your personal data’.   Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Facebook

Patrick Freyne’s alternative reading of Mark Zuckerberg’s 5,700-word Facebook post – aka his Marknifesto

On the clock:  Corey Hawkins as terrorist hunter Eric Carter in 24: Legacy

Missed the return of the ludicrous real-time, terrorist-chasing torture romp? Here is Patrick Freyne’s breathless minute-by-minute(...)

Donald Trump: always the most treasured object in the room. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Patrick Freyne enters the parallel universe of the US president via TV3’s bizarre TV special ‘Trump in His Own Words’

Gogglebox Ireland: Danielle, Laura and Des Grufferty in front of the tiny cameras. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Patrick Freyne spends a day on the set of the hit fly-on-the-wall series, to see what makes it tick

John Boyne: “I came out when I was 22, but . . . it would have taken me a while of knowing someone before I could confide in them something that I would have seen as slightly shameful and embarrassing.”

The prolific novelist tells Patrick Freyne about being gay in pre-marriage referendum Ireland – and how the success of ‘The Boy in(...)

Family support groups gather for a minute’s silence during the 18th Service of Commemoration and Hope at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Sean McDermott Street, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Drug deaths: Almost all the families at a commemoration in Dublin have lost loved ones to drugs

Dermot Bannon and Lisa O’Brien. Lisa  likens herself to “a nodding dog” when listening to Dermot

When I hear 'a decade of Room to Improve' I picture devout families kneeling around the TV

Mumblecore: Stephen Graham and Tom Hardy in Taboo

Taboo’s a complicated man and nobody understands him but his woman, who’s also his sister. Herself is up to her old tricks. And Co(...)

Speaking of big hands, Donald Trump has massive hands like tennis rackets or an elephant’s feet. His nickname is Donald “Big Hands” Trump around these parts

Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer from Trump’s inner circle are full of “alternative facts”. Patrick Freyne lists a few more

Barack Obama as he is sworn in on January 20th, 2009, as US president, on the same Bible used to swear in Abraham Lincoln. Photograph: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Abraham Lincoln: the 16th president of the United States

Patrick Freyne looks at how US presidents have been sworn in across the centuries

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland. Photograph: Jo Jo Whilden/SHOWTIME

Homeland has returned but thanks to a certain president-elect, reality is making its political fictions seem a bit quaint

Brendan Courtney: “I think the current government would really do well in the polls if they could effect change in the health system because people are really wringing their hands now.” Photograph: RTÉ

Designer talks about documentary 'We Need to Talk About Dad' which highlighted 'anger' over Fair Deal scheme

Pendulum summit speaker Bill Cullen at the National Convention Centre. Photograph: Eric Luke

At Frankie Sheahan’s summit in Dublin, thousands of people in suits pay hundreds of euro to empower themselves

Why are they doing this? Why does the birdy sing? Why does the lion roar? Jedward enter the Big Brother House: Photograph: Channel 5

As they make a mockery of the other contestants in the Big Brother house, I find my heart swelling with national pride

Corey Hawkins in 24: Legacy: his mission is to torture  pesky terrorists out of destroying Our Way of Life ™. Photograph:  Ray Mickshaw/Fox

From the end of childhood (and possibly RTÉ) to the terrible hatching of a glowing orange homunculus, television is going to be gr(...)

 Chelsea Pensioners arrive to cast their votes in the EU referendum  in London in June. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The week the United Kingdom voted for Brexit in June 2016, our reporter travelled from Wales to London, talking to voters. Here ar(...)

Daniel Clowes’s graphic novel Patience,  a  time-travelling rumination on love, bereavement and obsession.

Culture review 2016: Misogyny, classism and racism were all still evident on our television screens

Our Lady’s Hospice: Michael B McAuley with Dr Stephen Higgins. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

There are many kinds of patients at Our Lady’s Hospice. Some have their funerals all planned. Others are in ‘absolute denial’. And(...)

To whom it concerns: Blindboy Boatclub on the Late Late

It was a year of extraordinary events, shock departures, even more shocking arrivals, and loads of stuff that just wasn’t funny - (...)

Patrick Freyne meets Docter Noel Zone, a level 5 dangerologist. Illustration: Chris Judge

Patrick Freyne nabs a rare interview with the famous dangerologist. His advice for a safe season? ‘Make sure your Christmas stocki(...)

Attacked: “The child pulled me to the ground, then kicked me in the stomach until my colleague helped me away on my hands and knees.” Illustration: Imagezoo/Getty

As workers at a child-detention centre prepare to strike, social care workers describe the attacks and trauma that are seen as ‘pa(...)

The eyes have it: Patrick Freyne dressing as a panto dame at the Tivoli Theatre. Photograph: Eric Luke

I am being turned into a panto dame by Sammy Sausages of the Tivoli Theatre

Bosco: “Uafásach . . . Even the dogs on the street know it’s uafásach”

Worried by RTÉ’s cessation of children’s TV production, I look back at the kids shows that shaped the man I am today. Who, now, wi(...)

Al Porter at his family home in Tallaght: “You listen to Abba’s ‘Super Trooper’ and think that’s a bit of craic. And then you listen to the lyrics and go ‘that’s a f**king heavy song’.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A stand-up who has seen the darkness talks frankly about depression, sexuality and class

Ryan Tubridy takes aim. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Accept no substitutes, especially those made by TV3 – The Toy Show is the alpha and omega of Irish culture

 Rough sleepers in their tent at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Rough sleepers deal with death, illness, violence and humiliation day in, day out

John Lewis foxes - better get off that trampoline

It’s that time of year again when TV ads pull out all the stops and sentimentally bludgeon us till we cry, rage and (hopefully) go(...)

Ryan Tubridy with the RTÉ board

Patrick Freyne: This promo for the December 2nd show seems to be based on a recurring nightmare Ryan Tubridy has

  Street artist and print maker Maser: “[Graffiti] was a sociable thing. You were out with your friends. You got to explore the city and it was a rebellious thing”. Photograph: Eric Luke

Having earned his stripes with political murals, the street artist is taking to the garret

Scarlett Moffatt and the chin of Larry Lamb, two standout contestants on this year’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

In the nick of time, Ant & Dec return to pointlessly torture celebs for our pleasure and distraction

Shane Griffin: “We’d have the money to buy sweets so we wouldn’t be going to school on an empty stomach.”  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Shane Griffin grew up in residential units and in foster care. Now he’s investigating his own past by seeking access to dozens of (...)

 Sir Roger Moore: Why does he always insist he wasn’t a great actor when people ask about his films? “Well, I’ve seen them, you see.”  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The ex-007 talks movies, marriages and how Aidan Turner would look good as Bond

US president-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan. Patrick Freyne takes us through the unthinkable as it happened. Photograph: Reuters

A misogynistic racist liar has defeated all predictions to become president of the US

This week, RTÉ showed us the calibre of individuals who should rightfully be leading us... and gave us a portrait of Enda Kenny

Smashïe, not nicey: Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead. Photograph: Gene Page/AMC

Spoiler alert: Series seven has begun and we now know who Negan killed – but did he go too far? Has the series gone too far?

Walking and looming: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the second US  presidential debate. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Watching Donald Trump debate Hillary Clinton is like watching the last 25 minutes of Fight Club - and not at all like that film ab(...)

Broadcaster Pat Kenny has received a lifetime achievement award last night from the Irish Film and Television Academy. Photograph: Barry McCall

As he gets an IFTA lifetime achievement award, Pat Kenny talks about work, fame and being an underdog again

What is love? James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood in Sky Atlantic’s new sci-fi series Westworld. Photograph: HBO

The robots in Sky Atlantic’s new sci-fi thriller want to bring the love, unlike the Baby Animals on BBC1, who are just bastards

Psychotherapist Ray O’Neill: “You’re not supposed to analyse masculinity.”

How to Be a Man: Now more than ever, who we are is not a matter of X or Y chromosomes

Ronan Brady performing his GAA striptease act in fringe show RIOT. Photograph: Fiona Morgan

How to be a Man: Patrick Freyne talks to Ronan Brady, Roscommon GAA footballer turned acrobat star of recent Dublin Fringe product(...)

Peter McVerry at the launch of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice’s report “Developing inside: transforming prison for young adults”. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

How to be a Man: Patrick Freyne talks to the social justice campaigner about gender equality, masculinity and the masks we wear

Answer the question. Illustration: iStock

How to be a Man: Quizmaster Patrick Freyne has the answers to all your problems...

 Stephen Donnelly at his constituency office in Greystones, Wicklow: I’m a  proud feminist. Feminism to me is  a no-brainer.   Photograph Nick Bradshaw

How to be a Man: Patrick Freyne talks to the Independent TD about gender diversity, parenting, digging potatoes and feminism

O say can you see: Donald Trump´ during the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26th, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

The final season of ‘America’ began on Monday night, and the sense of apocalyptic dread was palpable right from the off

Matt Cooper: It became  obvious  to me that there was no difference between men and women when you’re working with good talented people

How to be a Man: Patrick Freyne talks to the Today FM broadcaster about fighting, housework, crying and his new puppy

 Comedian Al Porter  at his home in Tallaght, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

How to be a Man: Patrick Freyne talks to comedian Al Porter about being the son of a sergeant, growing up gay and what it means to(...)

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