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Maia Dunphy wrote a brilliant response to a harsh TV review

A review described Dunphy and Angela Scanlon as “vacuous” and “self-absorbed”.

00142226 Source: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

PRESENTER MAIA DUNPHY has hit back at a television review that accused her and fellow broadcaster Angela Scanlon of producing “lightweight, vacuous, self-absorbed guff” for RTÉ 2.

Writing for The Herald, television critic Pat Stacey was critical of both Scanlon and Dunphy’s recent television series for RTÉ 2, Angela Scanlon’s Close Encounters and Maia Dunphy’s The Truth About.

He described their programmes as the “ultimate Me generation self-indulgence” and used terms like “self-absorbed,” “fatuous” and “wafer-thin” to describe the shows.

He had harsh words in particular for Maia Dunphy’s The Truth About Breaking London, which he called “annoying and objectionable”.

“Was I tough enough to start over in one of the most competitive cities on Earth?” she wondered. “Was I able for the bruising slog of reinventing myself in a tough town?” Oh, come off it, woman! A quick glance at your Wikipedia page shows that, when you’re not making fatuous documentaries for RTE2, you live in London with your husband, successful comedian Johnny Vegas.

Yesterday Dunphy tweeted the review and wrote that she was “stunned” that it was published.

Many on Twitter were similarly critical.

And yesterday, Dunphy penned a right to reply in which he addressed the review.

I have read many reviews of my shows over the last few years – some good, some dreadful, some mildly indifferent. I read them all, and even though the bad ones can be tough, usually there are one or two criticisms that I find myself nodding my head to, thinking they had a point or that I wish I’d thought of that. But that’s how you learn.
But for the first time in my working life, I was taken aback by a review this week. I would have been taken aback even had it not been directed at me. Veteran TV critic Pat Stacey launched what can only be described as a scathing personal attack on both me and Angela Scanlon. It wasn’t objective and it wasn’t a review.

She responded to various points raised in Stacey’s review and called him out for referring to her husband in the review.

I’m not one to bandy about accusations of misogyny because they can be as reckless and unhelpful as reviewing a show without having ever watched it. But if the cap fits Pat. Why he felt the need to bring my husband into the equation, I don’t know. Never once in the show on Breaking London did I say I was single or destitute.

And she clarified her role in her programmes and hit back at Stacey’s assertion that the subjects at the heart of her documentaries were “wafer-thin”.

My role in all my observational documentaries is not to talk about myself for an hour, but as a lynchpin to encourage contributors to share their stories. It’s a device in telly Pat – I thought you might be aware of it.
It’s worrying that he finds the over-prescription of benzodiazapenes, anxiety and fertility issues “puddle-deep”, because I have discussed these as well as occasionally more frivolous subject matter. Women are far greater than the sum of their parts. Sometimes we want to discuss politics, careers, children or our deepest, darkest fears; and other times we want to chat about movies and shopping. I guess we’re just human that way.

Dunphy has received widespread support on social media with Dawn O’Porter even weighing in on the debacle.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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