West Belfast mums on Stephen Nolan’s BBC TV show Radio Face discuss their new found fame
When you’re Northern Ireland’s hottest new reality TV stars, you’d expect to receive a little bit of special treatment.
But Andersonstown mums Marie Aldridge and Anne Marie Lee, who have shot to fame overnight on controversial BBC show Radio Face, say they aren’t quite enjoying Kardashian-style levels of attention yet — and are happy to be ordinary.
“I had to make my own cup of tea at my friend’s house the other day — even though I’m on the telly! Isn’t that terrible?!” laughs Anne Marie, 59.
“I don’t think my life will change too much. But maybe it’ll help me to find a man!”
Marie and Anne Marie, who have been best friends for 24 years, erupt into peals of laughter as they chat to Sunday Life, clearly enjoying the fun of their new-found fame.
“Sure we don’t need men. What’s the point of them?” cackles Marie, 47. “They are only good for painting and decorating as that’s the one thing I can’t do.
“Women are so much more useful than men anyway. It’d be a different country if it was just women in charge. There would be much less nonsense!”
The wise cracking pair have been the talk of Northern Ireland since they appeared on Stephen Nolan’s hit new TV show Radio Face, where everyday people are filmed going about their business and commenting on issues of the day. The alluring new format for a local TV show has been a ratings hit.
Stephen personally asked the ladies to be on his show within five minutes of meeting them — and it’s easy to see why.
From Marie’s living room, she and her best friend Anne Marie, air their views on topics while chain smoking and chatting to each other.
Blunt, full of common sense and hilarious, the women have struck a chord with the viewing public. Marie holds the phone and is the ‘main talker’ while Anne Marie chats in the background, cracking jokes and supporting her friend.
“It’s our chance to be heard,” explains Marie. “Women like us have a lot to say but we don’t often get heard. I think people like that.
“We are ordinary people with life experience. I was a bit worried about the kids going into school the next day and people saying, ‘Your ma’s crazy!’ But everyone seemed to like it and the response has been good.”
But, what about the people who don’t see eye to eye with Marie and Anne Marie’s views?
Both women are in receipt of benefits and inevitably the benefits’ bashers have been out in force, criticising the ladies’ lifestyles and often colourful language.
“Benefits is just one topic that we talk about,” says Marie. “It’s not the only thing as you’ll see as the show goes on. As for the bad language — do you know anyone who doesn’t let the odd bad word slip out? People claim benefits and people swear — that’s life.”
Anne Marie and Marie have been through 24 years of friendship, sharing their ups and downs of daily life, relationship break ups, health problems — and with eight children between them, there’s not much that can faze them.
So, what does the future hold for Northern Ireland’s feistiest new stars?
“Because we have plenty to say, we’ve been asked if we’d think about going in to politics or something like that. Can you imagine it? It’d certainly liven things up but I don’t think we will be doing that,” says Marie.
“We are just taking it as it comes. If people don’t like it they can switch off. We aren’t bothered.”
Anne Marie adds: “The only thing that has bothered me about the show is the way my hair looked! I thought it was much tidier than that.”
Radio Face returns to BBC One NI this Wednesday at 10.45pm.