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The Man From The Telly
Best known for giving the world ‘Horse Outside’, Republic of Telly is surely the funniest example of RTÉ biting itself in the arse since... well, it’s been a while. Presenter Dermot Whelan – or possibly a cunning lookalike – talks about The Rubberbandits, gay rugby players and Neil Prendeville’s willy.
Paul Nolan, 08 Apr 2011
“I wonder is it a story where, because Síle is very much the girl next door, it gets more attention than it otherwise would have. With the Seoiges, there’s an element of baking to them, or something. Instead of sending sexy tweets, you’d expect them to be baking nice scones and inviting you around for tea.”
Also on the show, Whelan got stuck into The Restaurant, with a few digs at the expense of Tom Doorley and Co. He seemed to be genuinely annoyed by the programme.
“Yeah, I was,” he nods. “And there are shows like it that I just think are lazy. They just put it out and see what happens, and there’s no real effort to make it good; it’s so formatted that you can see it getting lazier by the week. The fact that they just recycle the same people on it... it’s been going for six or seven years and you’re like, ‘Would you not either make it better, or just stop doing it?’The TV section on the show is my favourite, because it’s a chance to shine a spotlight on shows.
“We annoyed Brendan Courtney because we were having a pop at Off The Rails. But the whole episode was based on him going to London Fashion Week. And how did we know it was London Fashion Week? Because he showed Google images of celebrities who might be at it, and he stood beside a sign that said ‘London Fashion Week’. He could have a shot that in Temple Bar!” What’s wonderful is that there are people in RTÉ who are now tipping us off. Obviously there are people involved in programmes who are thinking, ‘This isn’t really very good’, despite the fact they’re working on it.”
Of course, one of the major success stories of Republic Of Telly have been The Rubberbandits. The show brought the Limerick duo to a wider audience, and also commissioned and first broadcast the video for the brilliant ‘Horse Outside’.
“The producer, James Cotter, had mentioned he was a fan of theirs from the internet, and I did a show with them at Electric Picnic last year,” says Dermot. “Just seeing the crowd’s reaction to them, and their internet presence – one of the things I was really passionate about when I took over the show was that you have to own the internet side of it – it was obvious they really had something. Their potential online was massive, and it was great to be able to get them to a bigger audience. And they did wonders for our show.”