By Eileen Murphy
Miss India may have won the skirmish in London’s Millennium Dome last weekend, but it seems as if it’s Miss Ireland who’ll eventually win the war – the ratings war, that is.
Yvonne Ellard, who currently holds the Miss Ireland title, didn’t impress the judges enough to get into the final round of the Miss World Pageant Saturday night, despite being the bookies’ favorite. The one person she did impress, however, was the show’s master of ceremonies, American schlockmeister Jerry Springer.
In fact, the former mayor of Cincinnati was so impressed by Ellard’s, er, talent, that he approached her backstage after the show.
“He said he couldn’t believe that I hadn’t even gotten into the final four,” Ellard told Ireland on Sunday.
“He took out a betting slip to show me that he had put money on me to get to the final four,” she added.
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Springer, whom Ellard describes as a “really lovely guy,” then offered the Irish crown holder a part of his British television show. We hope Ellard reads the contract carefully before she signs, or she may find herself covered in Jello, wrestling a bikini-clad transvestite midget biker who thinks the beauty queen stole her boyfriend. After all, wrestling is hard enough without the slimy Jello.
And just in case you thought pageants were all toothy grins and lacquered coiffures, we should tell you that there’s some high-pitched grumbling over the contest’s winner.
Ellard implied that Miss India’s victory did not come as a surprise to anyone in the know.
“All the girls knew who was going to win beforehand,” she sniffed.
Never say never again
We’ll keep this one short, because those Oasis boys are as changeable as the wind. Remember when elder bruv Noel Gallgher said he’d never tour with Oasis again outside the UK, never, never, never, stop asking me, piss off, never! Well, he’s changed his mind, and will be with the band when they play Brazil in January.
In more Gallagher news, Noel’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, Meg, has turned down a the offer of a _2.9 million divorce settlement.
A friend told the News of the World, “She’s not being greedy, but she’s made calculations, and that isn’t the figure she expected.”
Bye bye, boys
This week, we bid a fond farewell to two of our co-workers, editors Harry Keaney and Patrick Markey. We’ll miss them both – Patrick, with his sharp, dry and wickedly funny Brit wit which kept things lively around the office, and Harry, who never heard a tune he couldn’t whistle — especially on a Tuesday around deadline time.
We’ll particularly miss watching Harry’s expressions as he read through each week’s “New & Noteworthy” offering before we submitted it to the big cheese, aka the editor-in-chief.
Harry would tear into N&N with gusto, scribbling notes on his always-present legal pad, shaking his head over some items, laughing over others. We could tell if we’d hit the right tone that week by seeing how many words – like “dreamy,” “hunky” or “yummy” – he’d jotted down. We knew they were perfect words if he underlined the words more than once.
“Did you like it?” we would ask sweetly, batting the eyelashes for full effect.
Harry would just grin and clap his hands, rubbing them together briskly. “Well, it’s fine, Eileen,” he’d say, before turning our attention to the notepad. “But did you really mean to call Brad Pitt your little – what was the phrase?”
He’d find it in his notes, and underline it few more times for effect. “Do you really want to call him your ‘love bunny’?” he’d ask, incredulously.
If he looked really irritated, we knew it was a keeper.
So we’ll miss both of them – all the years of lunch at the round table, cutting stories to fit on a Monday night, and making us justify every extra word or phrase in a piece. We’ll miss their dedication to the Echo, the mornings they’d slip in to wrestle with their immigration series, the patience with which they’d try to decipher scribbled names on the back of a picture. Harry’s new colleagues at the Sligo Champion and Patrick’s new colleagues at Reuters don’t know how lucky they are. But those of us who worked with them at the Irish Echo – we do.
Nov. 30 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Oscar Wilde, so we thought we’d bring you a bit of trivia about the great writer’s final resting place. It seems that some fans who visit his grave in a Paris cemetery feel the urge to kiss the headstone, which results in lipstick imprints all over it. Well, Oscar did say that he could resist anything except temptation . . .
Tompkinson’s a father again (but without the collar)
Those of us who are still mooning over Ballykissangel’s sexy (and long-departed) Fr. Peter will be happy to know that actor Stephen Tompkinson is alive and well and just became father Stephen – small “f” and no “dog collar” this time around.
The actor’s fiancee, Scottish publicist Nicci Taylor, recently gave birth to a baby girl, Daisy Ellen Tompkinson. The proud dad was on hand to deliver the baby and cut the umbilical cord. Yes, before you ask, he was assisted by a midwife. And no, before you ask, he didn’t faint.
Tompkinson left BallyK at the end of the series’ third season, at the same time as his costar (and former fiancee), Irish actress Dervla Kirwan. The couple split soon afterward, due to career pressures that necessitated long separations.
Who wants to hang a ‘Millionaire’?
Fresh from his hissy fight with “Late Late Show” successor Pat Kenny – we don’t want to open old wounds, boys, but that “don’t laugh at the afflicted” remark still makes us giggle at inappropriate times – Gay Byrne will be hanging around the National Gallery in Dublin for the next 10 years. And, yes, we mean that literally.
The talk show legend and current host of the Hibernian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” has been chosen as one of the top 10 contemporary Irish figures to be included in a special exhibition at the gallery.
The portrait of Gaybo is the third in the series, which includes former Irish president Mary Robinson and Olympic icon Ronnie Delaney. The whole thing has been underwritten by the Irish Life and Permanent insurance company.
The artist, Belfast native John Kindness, is known for some rather avant garde work, most notably a painting of a figure surrounded by bangers and mash titled “Potato Man.” (Dan Quayle fans be sure to add the extra “e.”)
Gay hasn’t seen the finished work yet – he’s kinda busy handing out buckets of money on his phenomenally successful quiz show – but he says that he’s not losing sleep over it.
“I’m really looking forward to it Wednesday, when I’m surrounded by family and friends,” he said.
“Hopefully, John will have worked some magic with his brushstrokes.”
Fortunately for Gaybo’s large fan base, Kindness assures everyone that the portrait is in keeping with Byrne’s dignified personality.
“I can tell you that he has all his clothes on!” he said. Well, that’s something.
No ‘Ashes’ for Tynan
Irish tenor Ronan Tynan has certainly weathered enough adventure, adversity and achievement for a dozen lifetimes into his thirtysomething years. Now, the former Olympic medalist, doctor and singer – and double amputee – is in the final stages of finishing his autobiography, “Stages,” which is due to hit bookstores in February.
Anyone who’s expecting a heart-wrenching story of misery and suffering will want to cross this book off his shopping list. Tynan has no time for self-pity.
“I wasn’t going to make it another ‘Angela’s Ashes’ story,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for people to read tragedy, tragedy, tragedy and more tragedy,” he said.
“I think there has to be a degree of happiness, success and positivity in people’s lives. No matter how difficult a tragic situation can be, you have to look a little bit deeper.”
“Boyzone weren’t happy when they weren’t acclaimed as singers or getting much respect as performers. But let’s face it, whether Boyzone felt they were getting respect is immaterial – don’t worry too much about what the public think. If they’re buying your record, that’s great.”
– Irish tenor Ronan Tynan