Did anyone else press their fingers into their temples in the hopes of setting off a blinding migraine, merely so they could render the rest of the last night's edited sweat fest unwatchable? I alternated between that and biting on the corner of a cushion, hoping that the squeaking betwixt my teeth might distract me from the pain. So why was it so bad?
Firstly, the setting. It looked like it was taking place in the hold of the Yellow Submarine, which might explain the reverberating acoustics and the stifling heat.
Secondly, the presenters. We had doe-eyed madourvits (we'll blame the lighting), Karen Koster and Alan Hughes, glistening and grinning away backstage as they engaged their innumerable TV3 colleagues who won a myriad of awards. While we're at it; Ireland AM's Anna 'Hello, and a very good mornin' to ya' Daly winning best weather presenter? Only recently has she managed to train that right hand of hers to stay in her pocket. Up until then, it'd be frantically flapping about, like it was dropping, then carrying, then dropping, then carrying an invisible tea tray. To be fair, she almost has it under control now, but watch carefully - sometimes you can see it DYING to fly out of her pocket. Sometimes it escapes, other times it statically stays half-emerged. Between that and the inevitable falter mid-weather forecast (it's like she says to herself, "God, this link's actually going well, how about some self-sabotage?! Let's stumble over a word!!"), it provides a number of opportunity to place bets, so it's no wonder she won. Personally, I feel Jean Byrne was robbed. Keeping with wily limbs, that brings me swiftly to the onstage presenting duo of magazine lord Michael O'Doherty and Glenda Gilson. What was up with her left elbow? Hand stuck to podium, the elbow was left loose, waggling away during every link, obviously channelling a world of nervous energy. Maybe she was sending a message to certain individuals who let serpents near their nethers that her elbow is a weapon not to be trifled with.
Thirdly, the choice of clips. How many amazing people have graced The Late Late Show in the last 47 years, and yet we're shown clips of Brendan Shine and Gerry Adams to showcase why it's a contender for Best Irish TV Show Ever. Speaking of Gerry Adams, given half the audience was made up bemused English soap actors, you'd think it might've been wise not to show a clip of irate Anti H-Block protestors trying to storm the British Embassy in Ballsbridge in 1981 when showcasing the wares of Reeling In The Years, also nominated for Best Irish TV Show Ever.
Fourthly, the inclusion of Bosco for the latter award. Actually, not so much the inclusion, as - again - the choice of clips. They could've shown someone going through the Magic Door, to either the milk bottle factory or Dublin Zoo. They could've shown the Tongue Twisters and their necks growing longer and longer. The could've shown Flaherty's garden, or Bosco actually in his box, with his miniature bed and the little ladder which couldn't possibly bear his weight. Instead, they had to show him poking out of his abode, shrieking, with two of the numptiest presenters going. They could've had Philip, who - if pushed - I thought was kind of cool. They could've even had Jonathan and his bushy beard, or Marion. Instead they had to have tuneless Grainne and her camel hoof encased in those bet on yellow slacks, crowing away, and Mr. Potato Head - Frank Twomey - with his pits perspiring furiously. They even showed Frank spittling through a Simple Simon tongue twister before the three of them broke out into a jig. Sorry, blatantly shallow I may be, but it left me morto for the nation. It's like breaking out a home video when your cooler older cousin, who lives abroad, pays a visit once in a blue moon... a home video of you as a babog, crapping in a bath and then pretending the floaters are a fleet of boats 'cause you couldn't afford to have any proper rubber ducks. That embarrassing.
Fifthly, the repeated references to Jedward. It's as if they're all we have. Nearly every second person to grace that stage mentioned Jedward at some point. Clips of Jedward also briefly appeared in the nomination VT for Britain's Got Talent, as well as Colette Fitzpatrick's nomination for Best Female Presenter. Then the pair took to the stage themselves with some Billie Barry inspired backing dancers (yep, that good) to breathlessly hoof out their rendition of Pressure. The performance was quite possibly the one thing that should've been hacked away at in TV3's editing suite. The inclusion of the lone figures of Kathryn Thomas and Blathnaid Ni Whatsherface dancing like eejits at their tables, while the rest of the guests cringed on actually made me audible howl with humiliation. Thomas, however, redeemed herself later...
Sixthly, the editing. In a word, butchered. Highlights included Gilson and O'Doherty's opening patter, which was chopped to bits; Bill O'Herlihy's laboured trundle towards the stage to accept Best Sports Presenter (one moment he was at his table, the next he was magically onstage murmuring); Ann Doyle's unfortunately slashed acceptance speech for Best News Broadcaster; and the accompanying ceremonial music throughout which was less than seamless as a result. Sloppy.
Right so, it's time for me to be positive in some respects. OK.... OK, we'll keep with Ann Doyle, who had the best acceptance speech all night. Well, the second best, but we'll get to that in a moment. She graciously accepted being called "last of the soggy tits" by Dustin the Turkey, by saying "I fed you that line because, let's face it, we're too knackered ole birds." She then expressed her joy at beating off competition from young things "like Vincent Browne and Pat Kenny." Now she's someone that should be thrown her own chat show. I remember getting on down many moons ago at Ham (for those unfamiliar, it was the POD's gay night more years ago than I'd care to recall), and wangling my way into the VIP room to see Doyle holding court at the bar, with a sea of enrapt, sweating faces crowding around her hanging off her every word. Legend.
The second thing to be positive about: Father Ted winning Best Irish Show Ever. A show made by a British production company and aired by Channel 4. Ryan Tubridy, when awkwardly accepting his award for Best Irish TV Show off his giddlefriend for The Late Late, said hello to all the English people who'd travelled to sit through the awards, before stating that we must keep supporting independent Irish production companies, we must continue to "buy, watch and love Irish in this country." At the risk of bleating on like a jaded record; that may be the case when it comes to the likes of Reeling in The Years, The Forgotten Irish, Primetime and The Gift of Life, but how are we meant to support Irish entertainment shows when they're all blatantly cack?
Back to being positive; the third thing to grin manically about was Kathryn Thomas's acceptance speech for Best Irish Female. From a former glossy Miss World sashaying across the stage, to Thomas careering up the steps. Hair frazzled, roots waving, not a screed of makeup left, like she'd just jogged to the event from a nearby hockey pitch, gloriously natural and wonderfully alluring, to deliver the killer line of the night. My, how she gleefully stole what Michael O'Doherty believed to be thunder (he snidely commandeered Glenda's intro of the award, saying "Why don't I do this bit. Ladies and gentleman, Rosanna Davison!") by bellowing: "Now that the travel show is over, I will have to talk to Johnny Ronan to get away!". Glenda dutifully applauded, and Rosanna nervously laughed, while anxiously yanking at the bottom of her dress. If you don't get the Johnny Ronan quip, my, I envy you. It means you can steer clear of all that tripe. In other words, Google it yisser selves.
Another glaring positive was Gerry Ryan's tribute. You'd have to be a stone not to find yourself momentarily moved, especially when two of his children gracefully took to the podium to accept on their dad's behalf. That's an extremely hard thing to do, take it from someone who barely got a prayer of the faithful out during her parent's respective send offs. They did it with such ease and dignity, while looking out over an audience of people frantically dabbing at their eyes - probably because Rex is the embodiment of his late father. The absolute bulb.
So, yeah, tips for next year's production include: A crash course in editing... A venue with air conditioning; show hosts who look like they're sporadically enjoying the experience instead of glowering at the autocue... Give Ann Doyle her own segment, or possibly let her sit on a throne beside the stage where she can verbally spar with all the winners... Do away with the WALKers (gerrit) bird or at least dress her in something more subtle than a yellow Rock Star Barbie dress. If she must stay, have Johnny Vegas sit on Ann Doyle's knee so he can shout abuse like "Bugger off, they can all walk in a straight line, you're extraneous in the extreeeeme!" at the superfluous dolly until she bawls... More Kathryn Thomas...