In the week following the Easter Rising centenary, TV3 had planned to air a two-part special of ‘Come Dine with Me’ featuring five well known Irish TDs.
A TV3 spokesperson has announced that the decision has been made to cancel the series on suspicion of defamation of character.
These episodes were intended to serve as topics for light debate and discussion among party leaders, while showing a side to their personalities that the public may not have seen before. The problem with the recording of the first episode, the footage of which has been permanently concealed from the public, is that it shows the politicians behaving in a manner which they would prefer not to be seen.
The two-part special was to feature caretaker-Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil’s Micheál Martin, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit Alliance, competing at hosting a dinner party over the course of 4 nights.
Labour leader Joan Burton was also to feature, although she was not officially in the competition.
The first evening was hosted by Kenny, although Joan Burton had prepared all three courses, of which Kenny took credit for. Exchanges involved Kenny joking about his guests having to pay for water with their meal, but the Pernod was “free of charge”. Martin made the suggestion that Kenny had too much hair to be in power.
The night concluded with a moving rendition of Scorpions’ ‘Winds of Change’ performed by Burton on the tin whistle, followed by a Pernod-fuelled game of tip the can.
The following evening, Micheál Martin managed to cremate his entire main course (which Martin pretended never happened) and his guests had to settle for crisp sandwiches. The inclusion of King cheese & onion crisps however proved to be a controversial decision as Kenny and Adams had insisted on Tayto.
After the sandwiches, Boyd Barrett suggested that they “head to Coppers” which was greeted with groans with Kenny and Burton, insisting that the nurses (known for frequenting the Harcourt St. niteclub) would “annihilate” them. Adams suggested that they go somewhere else for a change as he was “all about change”, although his beard and bespectacled look, complemented by a permanently cocked left eyebrow (a look which he has donned since Brennan’s bread came sliced), was in disagreement.
The night then regretfully divulged into fisticuffs as Martin grabbed Kenny in a headlock and demanded that he “submit” in an uncanny impression of Conor McGregor.
The third episode had to be abandoned, as the leaders refused to be in the same room again and Adams had refused to go into the kitchen if the others were going to be there. Richard Boyd Barrett said that he “regretted not getting the chance to compete with the others.” And that this was an example of “Typical Irish cronyist politics.”
Deirdre Shannon, a spokesperson for TV3, had this to say:
“The ‘Come Dine with Me’ Special was to serve as a form of light relief in the midst of uncertainty about this country’s government. The subtext was also of the unofficial competition for Taoiseach and a means for the leaders to be able to converse and discuss topics with less pressure and urgency. The presence of cameras and the fact that they had to spend two entire evenings together may have led to some discord between the leaders and we here at TV3 regret that it may cast a disrespectful shadow in light of a successful Easter Rising centenary commemoration, and have thus decided to refrain from having the episode made available to the public. The footage will eventually be destroyed.”
Although the special will not be aired, Micheál Martin is in talks with TV3 already about a spin-off series, inspired by Netflix comedy Better Call Saul.
Written by John Collins