Janxiety attack? Tune in to these dream TV highlights
It’s time to bring back Mr Blobby, make Twink the new queen of reality TV, send Daniel and Majella to Electric Picnic, and get Marty Morrissey and Alyssa Edwards together
Mr Blobby, the new shape of 2018. Photograph: Wikimedia
Let’s get Blobby
If anyone deserves a 2018 comeback it’s the giant marshmallow of mayhem Mr Blobby. Having disappeared from our teatime telly screens in the mid-1990s, Noel Edmonds’s phantom son and heir, born of Crinkley Bottom, just needs the right light entertainment show to reignite his career. Now that the US seems to have grown tired of James Corden’s super-powered smugness, Blobby could be the one to capitalise on this. Who wouldn’t want to see good ol’ Blobby behind the wheel on Carpool Karaoke careering off the road with members of Maroon 5 screaming in the backseat as his boggly peepers dance manically in his head and his mangled voice-box belts out She Will Be Loved? He could effortlessly take over Corden’s late-night chat show host duties; his nonsensical cry of “Blobby! Blobby! Blobby!” into the faces of guests such as Nicole Kidman and Harry Styles would be infinitely more palatable than Corden’s empty fawning. Twenty-eighteen needs to be Blobby-shaped.
How can we have reached the year 2018 without some kind of reality show starring Twink? She is every Real Housewife rolled into one tiny blonde fist of a woman; she is the Kris Jenner of panto. The UK is littered with half-baked reality kids desperately trying to cultivate a personality, while we in Ireland have a star languishing in our midst, making cakes and going about her daily Twink-business without an audience. We were promised so much – an agony aunt spot on TV3, an RTÉ Reeling in the Years-style show where it’s all Twink all the time – but alas, neither came to fruition. Let 2018 be the death of the lifestyle franchise shows about wedding dresses and contrived dates we’ve been passively gorging on, and let’s invest in something uniquely Irish: Totally Twink.
The Alyssa Edwards & Marty Morrissey Variety Show
Without having even set foot on the dancefloor, Marty Morrissey has already won the hearts of the nation on RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars. Whether he eventually ends up triumphantly tangoing to victory or morosely moonwalking out in the first round matters not. This is the Marty we’ve secretly craved to see, a debonair dandy no longer relegated to the sporting sidelines, free to indulge his glitzy tendencies and wriggle those perfect brows to dizzy new heights. Why should this cease once the show has ended? With TV3 having nabbed Michelle Visage for Ireland’s Got Talent, why doesn’t RTÉ retaliate and get Marty to host a modernised reboot of the Tops of the Town variety show with another RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnus, the irrepressible Alyssa Edwards. Edwards runs the award-winning Beyond Belief dance company, and the two glamazons (who bear more than a passing resemblance to each other) could turn out some fierce moves while introducing Ireland to an array of new dance troupes and comedy queens.
The Bros of Tralee
Another show that is crying out for a serious update for 2018 is the mothballing, mummified spectacle that is the Rose of Tralee competition. No more tittering young ladies in pretty gúnas frosted with the finest Newbridge Silverware, please; no more poetry recitals or intellectual baton-twirling in front of Dáithí Ó Sé. Bring on the boys – it’s time for The Bros of Tralee. The young men of Ireland can take to the stage in their flat caps and brogues and their Paul Galvin for Dunnes Stores finery, as if performing in Peaky Blinders – the Musical, and knock back a pint of milk in 60 seconds followed by a mammoth breakfast roll. They can quote Scarface and The Godfather while showboating with some Conor McGregor MMA poses. How about chatting to Dáithí (or maybe Miriam O’Callaghan) about how many protein powders they take and where they get their beard trimmed before the big GAA match, as their mams look on, beaming with provincial pride. Lads, it’s your time to shine.
Female Top Gear
This gender flip is not just reserved for the boys, though. We’ve had female Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8 is about to become an estrogen-fest, so why not kill off the last bastion of truly toxic masculinity, Top Gear (a name synonymous with the smell of beery farts and the feel of sweaty corduroy) and replace it with Female Top Gear. Yes, let’s reduce ice-creamophobe Richard Hammond to tears as Jo Brand, Emma Thompson and Helen Mirren screech around in luxury cars in exotic locations. Imagine the joy to be found in the trio bursting through the wall of a men-only golf course clubhouse in a Marauder and making cracks about sad, impotent old duffers whose egos are as fragile as the Brexit negotiations.
Daniel and Majella’s Festival Road Trip
It may be the end of the line for their B&B escapades, but what about Daniel and Majella’s very own Summer of Love for 2018, touring the festivals of Ireland? From Body & Soul to Beatyard, Life and Electric Picnic, to dealing with portaloos, trench foot, raves in the woods and locating your tent at painful o’clock – this would be part-roadtrip, part-survival guide. Watch as Majella comes to the aid of some socket-faced youngster attempting to lick his own eyeballs. Cheer as Daniel valiantly fights his way through a rain-sodden queue holding three pints and still managing to carry a dubious looking chicken fillet roll without dropping anything. Let your eyes moisten with national pride as they take to the stage to sing a festival hits megamix, ending with a rousing version of Gala’s Freed from Desire with accordion accompaniment.
In 2017 telly got far too posh, with everyone turned into royalist sycophants by The Crown and Victoria. Marble-mouthed, double-barrelled buffoons littered the screen like waxwork dummies crowing through their clenched teeth about the tribulations of being a monarch. What’s needed for 2018 is a dose of salty realism – let’s get back to Bread. Carla Lane’s seminal 1980s sitcom about a working-class Liverpudlian family struggling to survive in Thatcher’s Britain could easily transfer to today’s Ireland, where whole adult families are still under one roof. There are young couples like Billy and Julie forced to live at home unable to afford their own house, Adrian the artist attempting to live off grants, Joey the enterprising wheeler-dealer trying to make ends meet doing nixers on the sly. 1986 or 2018, give or take a few dubious hairdos and shoulder pads, Bread poignantly has not yet passed its expiration date.
Steve from Stranger Things spin-off
Steve the “pretty damn good babysitter” Harrington, with his enviable bouffant hairdo, became the unexpected breakout star from the second helping of Netflix series Stranger Things. With his vintage teen heartthrob looks and sardonic, wise-cracking relationship with Dustin, the character is ready for his own “choose your own adventure” style series. Who cares if it’s a cheap rip-off of Adventures in Babysitting or a feeble Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – once those luscious locks stay in place, everybody wins.
Marcella and Luther Mash-Up
Just like those endless comic-book mash-up movies or that episode of She-Ra when she went to visit He-Man at Castle Greyskull that time, why can’t two telly detectives whose style of policing is more Incredible Hulk than Inspector Morse meet up for some smashy-smashy antics? Both Anna Friel’s Marcella and Idris Elba’s Luther sport iconic jackets – Marcella’s Parka of Pain and Luther’s Trench of Torment are their equivalent of superhero capes. Both moodily stalk around London town looking to put away wrong ’uns, and both have interviewing techniques that would make the Sweeney blush. It’s a match made in murderous heaven.
Charlotte Dawson on everything
Presenting Newsnight, pretending to be Nigella, driving the bus on Coach Trip, performing surgery on 24 Hours in A&E – who cares what the forthright, formidable daughter of comedian Les Dawson does once she’s on our telly screens throughout 2018? It’s guaranteed to be a chuffin’ cracker of a year.