The Panel (2003– )

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Irish talk show that was produced by Happy Endings Productions for RTÉ.

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8.1/10
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7 November 2005 | Mike Carroll
Brilliant topical news show!
The Panel is an absolute gem; it's got the wit of "Have I Got News for You?" at its best, and not being a game-show it's not restricted to any format other than the trotting out of the guests. In fact, the guests are the only problem with the show: while most of them are fun, occasionally there'll be a guest who's undergone a humourectomy (generally a politician or a sports star).

The show also benefits from not being as obviously scripted as others in the genre; there genuinely does appear to be pure spontaneity from the panelists - an incredibly rare thing on television! Of the regular panelists, it's hard to pick a favourite: Colin Murphy is always on top form (his show The Blizzard of Odd is a masterpiece), Neil Delamare always amuses with his "cheeky kid at the back of the class" mode, and Ed Byrne's surreal raging is a joy to watch. Andrew Maxwell can at times be brilliant, but his humour misses as often as it hits. Fiona Looney... Well, let's just say that she can't always keep up with the others.

But the real star is the host himself, Dara O'Briain. The man is a true comic genius, especially when he's egging on the others! Definitely the best thing RTE have ever done.

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