Belfast Telegraph

We need a chat show

By Gail Walker

Chances are you won't have seen it - your Saturday nights are more thrill-packed, you don't have an RTE aerial - but there was a great interview with Holly Sweeney on the Brendan O'Connor show at the weekend.

What an intriguing young woman Rory McIlroy's ex is. Though clearly nervous, "Holly from Holywood" as she styled herself, still managed to come across as feisty, resilient and fun. And though Holly maintained she'd no hard feelings towards Rory, who left her for tennis player Caroline Wozniacki - why let one bad thing spoil the memory of six great years together was her reasoning - there seemed to be heartache there, just beneath the surface. After all, as she pointed out, they'd moved in together while she was doing her final exams at school. He was her first proper boyfriend. But it got me thinking on several fronts.

Firstly, how no one could blame Holly for trying to carve out a media career on the back of her famous ex, even though I hope she uses the McIlroy association as a launch pad, rather than being defined by it. At 21, she's too bright a future to be defined only for her role in someone else's past. And secondly, how disappointing our two local TV stations are when it comes to so-called "magazine" style programmes?

Elsewhere on RTE, on The Late Late Show on Friday, Christine Bleakley was chatting away about fiance Frank, Dancing On Ice and those brickbats. Unaffected, open and warm, the studio audience loved her. Some critics thought UTV's The Kelly Show had become tired but since its demise, no programme has come close to taking its place. Gerry's skewering of Gerry Adams remains one of the great moments in local TV history. I can't think of a single chat show that's been on either local station recently. Where can our politicos go to show their human side? Or local celebs win a morale-boosting round of applause? Thank goodness for the papers, that's all I can say.

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