Listening to Phantom's Pure Morning has become a daily ritual, with one of the preferred segments being the 'Daily Pundown' (a handy gauge as to whether the tabloids are worth purchasing). Today, presenter Richie McCormack had me pegging it to the local Spar to pick up The Star, thanks to one regaled tale in particular. Yep, the one involving producers paying film extras to be in the crowd of Colm and Jim Jim's new RTE TV quiz show, Home Run

According to a Star source, who attended one of the weekend recordings in "a theatre in Blanchardstown" (presumably Draiocht): "I'm a member of and they asked me if I would be available for the game show and they were willing to pay me €60 for it. It was the first time I was paid to sit in an audience. They seemed a bit desperate for audiences. They were getting up to clap every few minutes and we were forced to laugh and forced to clap. It was woeful."

Meanwhile, an RTE mouthpiece said of the independent TV production company looking after Colm and Jim Jim's show: "A huge audience of over 2,000 people attended the recordings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Of the 2,000, 30 were sourced movie extras and were in receipt of a nominal fee... Also, because there is audience participation, these people were used on Friday to lead the audience in various interactive elements and create atmosphere." But the source said he was utilised on the Saturday... That aside, isn't the conjouring of atmosphere 90% of a presenter's job?

I shan't be (overly) snide about Colm Hayes and Jim Nugent. Their quips kept me warm through many a frosty morning - when presenting the Strawberry Alarm Clock. You know, when they were really funny. Then they moved to RTE and had to rein things in more than a bit. Cheeeart music and a downturn in the laughter factor had some switching to alternative listening, but they no doubt picked up a rake load of new ears from beyond the pale and hung on to their hardcore listenership. But do people in general want to see the visual equivalent of a physics teacher and a dark haired cherub being zany on their boxes? That's why there's radio (with notable exceptions; I'd much prefer to see 98fm's Paul Connolly or Red FM's KC and Lenny cavorting about my living room via the TV. Of course, I am largely biased in the latter regard). Perhaps that's why Colm and Jim Jim's crowd required such cajoling at the recording - their physical representation instilled a state of shock. Before I saw pictures of them, my brain had Jim Jim as a tall, skinny fellah and Colm as someone twice his age. Then, one day, the RTE Guide shattered that illusion. It was a lot to take in. It still is...

For the slew of you mumbling "Stop being a SUCH superficial cow - what of the miniscule matter of our license money going towards paying people to laugh in a studio audience?!" How about RTE reimburse €60 quid to a number of us picked at random?! That's bound to bring a smile to faces. On the upside; it's nice to hear producers aren't just rounding up the sick and bewildered, specifically from St. Vincent's A&E, to partake in studio audiences anymore. True story.