Nationwide had a great feature on dogs, last week and the O’Brien-Farrells, from the Dunmore Road, featured as puppy-walkers who help socialise dogs in their first year for Irish Guide Dogs For The Blind. Great to see such caring Waterford people doing a good deed to help others. It must take a lot of time and commitment in the training process and then after a year, or longer, the dog goes on to formal training and if successful, a major guiding task. Woof. Woof.

Glam Rock

If you loved Bad Girls or Footballers’ Wives from Shed, you will rock your socks and cocks off for the new glam-a-rama drama from the back of the Shed – Rock Rivals. It opens with a red posh car in a swimming pool outside a plush pile and zip up your mickey, you flash and crash back to a take-off of a wannabe pop show – Rock Rivals. And wham-bam, it’s got celeb judges Malcolm (who does) and Karina Faith doing a Simon Cowell and Shazza Ozbourne. Bur Mal shags Jinx with his mic up full and Karina goes ballistic, hence the wheels in the pool. Characters have names like Sundae Gorgeous, Angel Islington and Addison Teller.

In one way it is a poor pisstake of X-Factor, perhaps not to piss of Simon Cowell, but it has Michelle Collins as Karina and it has a star stalker who talks to a blow-up doll with a stick-on-face and it has a crazy singer who pretends to slash her arm on t.v. It was filmed in Dublin last year. Oh, they filmed two endings to episode eight, as to who wins the series.

Mad Hype

The pre-publicity hype for BBC4’s new series Mad Men is nearly as big as the hype for the start of Desperate Housewives. It proudly boasts that its script writer is Matthew Weiner, a Sopranos writer, who has set the plot in the 1960s ad agencies in Madison Avenue. You get good-looking guys in suits smoking cigarettes and promoting Lucky Strikes. It looks like an ad campaign of a programme but can these suits be as ruthless as the crude and nasty gangsters. Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper, doesn’t seem to have the complex vulnerability of a Tony Soprano and the Beeb will take it softly softly on 4 before upgrading it, if it takes off. Did people actually buy Strikes because the tobacco was toasted or toast-dried? Answers on a fifty-euro note to this column.

Wonky Willie

C4 were in the bizarre world of wannabes with two programmes about guys who pursue belief in themselves to crazy lengths. Love And Money featured Andrew Bown-Copley, who had a dream – a completely off-the-wall, mad-as-a-nutter, idea to establish a budget airline. Crazy or what, as he set off to meet London bankers with packets of crisps and a pie stuffed in his suit pocket to cut down on lunch expenses. When investors said no, he phoned his wife and said – well it’s not bad news at all. What a plonker, who had no airline experience, to take on Ryanair or Easy Jet.

But Willie Harcourt-Cooze took the bar of chocolate as he sat in a bath of liquid chocolate to promote his ‘best chocolate in the world’. He sold everything to buy a 1,000 acres of South American rainforest to make his hundred percent cocoa-solids dream confectionary. When vandals smashed the window of his Volvo he told his kids it was a new kind of air-conditioning. Selfridges now sell his homemade (in the bath?) chocolate. Oh yeah, the programme was called Willie Wonky Chocolate Factory. Why do they do it?

Lost World

It’s the BBC4 version of education by Useless facts like The Lost World Of Tibet, where you learn that the Dalai Lama is called His Holiness, precious, Gentle Glory, Ocean Of Wisdom, and Wish-Fulfilling Gem. In 1950 the Chinese invaded Tibet and the Dalai Lama fled to India. In C4s series, The Fake Trade, the Chinese again feature in global counter-fitting in Shenzhen, which was a fishing village thirty years ago, now it is larger than New York City.

Bits And Bites

DES LYNHAM returns to BBC in the summer to present a sports-themed version of mastermind, alongside coverage of the Beijing Olympics and Wimbledon. It will keep the traditional format of general sports knowledge and a specialist sports subject. Lynham defected to ITV in 1999.

BINGO is to replace ITV Play as a late-night quiz call type programme. ITV made about E12 Million in six months on these quiz programmes like Play and The Mind. Viewers complained that answers were too difficult and cited that question as to what you might find in a woman’s handbag were a balaclava and rawl plugs.

LIVING tv liked the idea of returns of Strictly Come Dancing so much they have commissioned a new series of Strictly Come Dieting.

LILY ALLEN could be the next chat show host to flop and she will join the other celebrity floppers – Davina McCall, Sharon Osbourne, Gaby Roslin, Anthony Cotton, Katie Price and Peter Andre.

TONY JORDAN who heads up Red Planet Productions is the EastEnders writer who devised Hustle and Life On Mars and the dubious Echo Beach/Moving Wallpaper (than hasn’t worked at a late evening time) is devising a new Saturday tea time show for BBC1 to fill the Doctor Who gap. It will be called The Minister and since the hype for Echo beach, not a lot is being said about this new show. Are you boverred? Not ‘alf.