Bull Island (TV show)

Bull Island (TV show)

"Bull Island" was an Irish television and radio satirical comedy show broadcast on RTÉ One and later on RTÉ Radio 1 from 1999 until 2002.

Featuring a cast of just 7 Irish comedians and impressionists, the show, which aired for half an hour weekly, satirised many aspects of Irish life. The frequent impressions of the members of the Irish parliament (Dáil Éireann) were popular, but were relatively harmless and inoffensive when compared with Dermot Morgan's earlier "Scrap Saturday" and British shows such as "Spitting Image".

Some of the notable women in power at the time, such as the then Cabinet Minister, Mary O'Rourke, and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's partner Celia Larkin were played by a man, and there were regular depictions of deception and skullduggery in the Dáil bar. The opposition were usually portrayed as bumbling country bumpkins.

Other sketches included a regular pastiche of Paddy O'Gorman and his shows which consist of interviewing people at random - Bull Island's Paddy O'Gormless would do similar, but with ever more inane interviews.

A favourite sketch, which became known as the show's signature, was an impersonation of a long-running ad for Irish discount electrical retailer PowerCity, where actors looking surprisingly like those in the adverts, wearing the same bright red jumpers, would wax enthusiastic about prices ending in 99 pence. This evolved into a stream of products costing "99.99.99" as the series progressed. As a result, PowerCity removed the pence from all their prices, and regularly charge round tens or hundreds for products instead of 99's.

The show was canceled in 2001, shortly before the 2002 General Election. The same team appeared providing a 30 minute radio version of the programme on RTÉ radio within weeks. Bull Island's ratings had been falling , as later episodes were just reusing the same jokes, particularly those made during the summer and winter breaks of the Dáil when there was less political news to satirise.

Some of the actors behind some impressions include:

*Alan Shortt - Bertie Ahern, Michael D. Higgins, Gerry Adams, Michael Noonan, Micheál Martin
*Frank Twomey - Mary O'Rourke, Celia Larkin, Willie O'Dea, David Trimble
*Michael Sheridan - Marian Finucane, Duncan Stewart, George Lee, Ruairí Quinn, Gerry Fleming, Gerry Daly, Ian Paisley, Jackie Healy-Rae, John de Chastelain
*Pakie O'Callaghan - Charlie McCreevy, Desmond O'Malley, Eamon Dunphy, Charlie Bird, Brian Farrell
*Elva Crowley - Mary Harney, Power City Girl, Helen Dillon
*Michelle Costello - Mildred Fox, Miriam O'Callaghan
*Gary Flood - Paddy O'Gorman, Daniel O'Donnell, Dickie Rock

Bull Island was written by:Catherine Maher, Pearse Lehane, Richard Carroll, Elva Crowley, Anne Geraghty, Pakie O'Callaghan, Alan Shortt, Michael Sheridan & Gary Flood.

Produced by: John Keogh, Alan Robinson.

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