The countess of Devon back in the day.

Patrick Freyne: These modern cookery programmes are giving youngsters an unrealistic idea of what food should look and sound like

Sting: 'When I get angry I’m a Geordie. It’s very effective.' Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The former Police singer talks music, politics and his brush with the IRA

Joe Duffy: “The punters knew the banks were dodgy before the politicians did.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The RTÉ host is proud of his radio show and doesn’t dwell on anti-Liveline snobbery

In my day they’re what passed for tasty Christmas treats. We’d have sprouts for dessert covered in cream and they’d often come in selection boxes next to the Revels. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Patrick Freyne: Every December the Eighth it happens - hordes of salivating red-faced rural types

It’s hard to think of a show that chimed as much with the moment as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Ryan Tubridy and members of the School of Uke from east Cork at the auditions for the Late Late Toy Show in Cork city. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Patrick Freyne meets the talented kids who try out for the annual toyfest

Patrick Freyne: The secret to a great ever-lasting memorable show is a catchy, sing-along intro

Robert Peston: ITV’s political editor sees the Brexit crisis as a delayed reaction to the recession

The ITV political editor’s enlightened Keynesianism comes wrapped in Alan Partridgism

He works hard for the money:  The Punisher

Patrick Freyne: TV regularly uses psychological problems to give a character “depth”

Former Greek finance minister and author Yanis Varoufakis introduced himself as ‘a failed finance minister from a bankrupt state’. Photograph: Alina Kisina

Discussions on Trump, Brexit, technology and media were some of the topics covered at this year’s economics festival in Kilkenny

Yannis Varoufakis: ‘You [Irish] are such a weird and wonderful people.’ File image: EPA/Marta Perez

Economists wander in T-shirts, jeans and leather jackets; comedians wear suits and ties

Lewis Hamilton: “Vroom, vroom.” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Lewis. Photograph: Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

‘Firstly, let’s just point out that none of us have broken any laws’

Comedian Alison Spittle: her show 'Nowhere Fast' starts on RTÉ 2 on Monday, November 13th.

The comedian on her new TV show 'Nowhere Fast', a sitcom about women, friendship, and where the men are little more than love inte(...)

Kathy Griffin: “I’ve been in fake Hollywood trouble before, but to be on the Interpol list and to have the president personally coming at me?” Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 07: Comedian Kathy Griffin: “I’ve been doing this for my whole career . . . I’ve a history of this.” Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The comedian regrets apologising for posing with Trump’s 'severed head'

Buster the Boxer: our ideas will give the John Lewis Christmas ad a run for its money

Ad man Freyne has something for everyone, from miming peasants to a post-Brexit Santa

Stranger Things 2: It manages to be more than the sum of its references. It’s gripping and fun and, thanks to the stellar young acting talent, often moving.

Patrick Freyne: Stranger Things is gripping and fun and, thanks to the stellar young acting talent, often moving

Michael Pyke, Clare O’Neill and Fintan Goss, who were killed in Storm Ophelia on Monday

The families of Fintan Goss, Clare O’Neill and Michael Pyke will never forget Monday

Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters and some indentured extras in Mamma Mia!

Why have you all kept this glorious megahit - featuring Meryl Streep, Greek slaves and all three kinds of man - from me

Dublin commuters travelling on the Luas. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

We travel Dublin’s Red and Green Lines to learn about the different worlds they travel through

Shanna Lee Curtis (6), Harlow Wheelan (8) and Layla Byrne (5) enjoy themselves during the Playful Street event held on Sherrif Street, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

‘Babies are terrible dancers’:a new initiative on finding room for play

‘T’Kuvma is overseeing the funeral of his murdered chum. The speed of the funeral proceedings make me feel he might be one of the Offaly T’Kuvmas.’

Star Trek once offered a utopian ideal. Has demagoguery breached even the final frontier?

 Rebecca Taylor, Nadine Kelly and Katie Flaherty all from Ballinasloe, Co Galway having fun in the rain at the Ploughing Championships. Photograph: Tom Honan

An entertainingly eclectic experience – with biblical rain, mud and plenty of animals

Star Trek: Discovery

Alison Spittle’s new show; David Simon in NYC; and a doc on the most famous Irish person ever: Shergar

The graphic novel Savage Town ‘treats Limerick the way The Wire treats Baltimore’

Burnout isn't new – overworked Victorians called it ‘neurasthenia’. But today's version is different

1984 - 1/03/1984 - page 1 - A young girl who took part in the anti-drugs march in Dublin yesterday.  Photograph: Kevin McMahon  / THE IRISH TIMES   . . . neg no 84/2/288

How ‘mammies, daddies, an IRA activist and a priest’ took on Dublin’s drug dealers

Cheap Cheap Cheap: The idea for the show presumably came to him when a man in the pub said: “You know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Edmonds”

After just three weeks Noel Edmonds’s odd new show may be facing cancellation – and not because it’s cheap cheap cheap

Duran Duran playing  the main stage at Electric Picnic on Sunday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Patrick Freyne: I saw bearded men wrestle. I saw nipple rings. I saw Pat Kenny

The Electric Picnic crowd at the Main Stage on Friday night. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish times

Salvation is at hand on the second day of the Stradbally sesh amid Santa and shamans

Ian Bailey launching his book of poetry in the Hot Press tent at Electric Picnic Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish times

The collection of poetry existed in “embryonic form” before the accusations in the 1990s

Jerly Vivas from Venezuela. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

The young people of Ireland and their grandparents have gathered to see the acts of the moment

“I should have called it Roy Keane House”: Eamon Dunphy at home. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Interview: The pundit and podcaster talks Celtic Tiger, family and his ‘Buddhist’ outlook

This year’s contestants on the new Channel 4 series of the ‘Great British Bake Off’: Back row: Steven, Tom, Liam, Sophie, Peter, James, Chris. Front row: Julia, Kate, Stacey, Flo, Yan. Photograph: Channel 4

After its controversial move from the BBC to Channel 4 this year, the baking show returns

‘Let it be clear: no millennial will ever pry this generation’s cold, disappointed hands off youth culture.’ Last year’s Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Patrick Freyne’s immersive, experiential rundown of the festival experience for people his own age who aren’t attending

Chad Johnson enters the Big Brother House for the 'Celebrity Big Brother' launch at Elstree Studios on August 1st, 2017 in Borehamwood. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images

And Barry from EastEnders is here. I’m not sure why but I find that comforting

Deerpark Estate in Castleknock Village: the area is traditionally seen as a middle-class and well-to-do area. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Taoiseach’s West Dublin constituency is one of Ireland’s most socially divided areas

From The Flintstones to He-Man and Top Cat, kids’ animation has a lot to teach us

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

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