Ireland: Celebrity Riverdance

by Gavin Murray 255 views

Celebrity Riverdance. It was inevitable, really. With various famous faces trying their luck with tango, rumba and figure-eight manoeuvres to the sound of cheering from millions of TV viewers, some bright spark was going to come up with the ol' 'a haon, do, tri'.

The spark in question is irrepressible, independent producer Bill Hughes, whose celebrity Irish dance show, Between the Jigs and the Reels, has just got the thumbs-up from RTÉ.

The pilot, featuring Valerie Roe and designer Jen Kelly being put through their paces by their professional Irish dancing partners, so impressed RTÉ, that the first in the six-part series will be broadcast on Sunday, March 26 2006.

So far, Bill is keeping quiet about the twinkle-toed contestants, but hints that the eight will include “a pop star, a sports personality and a politician”. A politician? Makes sense, really. Who better at side-stepping (hard questions), waltzing (past issues) and reeling (with shock at latest crime figures/hospital bed crisis)?

Apparently Valerie Roe, who quit managing nightclub “Lillie's Bordello” to run her own event management company, was a revelation. “She was brilliant,” said Bill.

But Valerie herself had a different opinion. “I thought I was brutal!” she said. “And I found taking criticism from the judges former 'Riverdancers' Jean Butler and Colin Dunne very hard. I was dying to get stuck in, but managed to keep my mouth shut,” she laughed.

Nor will the dancers be expected to master traditional steps – the show will use contemporary Irish music from U2, The Thrills, Paddy Casey and the like for the hard-shoe routines.

If I was a betting woman (which I am), I suspect this show might even keep me out of the pubs on a Sunday night.

“Riverdance” featured in the interval act at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, and since then it has shot to world-wide fame.

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