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pass the binoculars

11 questions we still have about The Fame Game on RTÉ

Pure nostalgia.


How could you forget.

The reality show that tasked Irish teens to stalk a chosen celebrity and complete a pre-arranged task.

To refresh your memory, here’s one contestant attempting to get a handshake from Pierce Brosnan:

darraghman / YouTube

Precious little evidence of The Fame Game exists on the internet, so cherish this nugget. But watching it only leads to more questions when you go down the rabbit hole:

1. Has RTÉ ever had a more iconic graphics set up than the Mission Impossible-style menu screen from The Fame Game

hgu6 RTÉ RTÉ


hgu7 RTÉ RTÉ

It was cutting edge stuff.

2. Why would contestants go on and not know piss-easy questions about their chosen celebrity?

2hgu RTÉ RTÉ

“What is… their first name?”


3. Who came up with the challenges?

hgu4 RTÉ RTÉ

Pick your poison:

  • hug
  • kiss (???)
  • autograph
  • handshake
  • awkwardly roaring at them on a red carpet*

*not a real challenge

4. Who thought it was a good idea to send this poor craytur to Belfast to get a hug off Michael Moore?

hgu5 RTÉ RTÉ

5. How did some shnakes manage to get a trip to LA, while others slummed it around Ireland with their celeb?

hgu9 RTÉ RTÉ

Interview for The Fame Game: “Eh, my favourite actor is… *looks at hand* Samuel L Jackson. Now, please can I have my flight and free hotel in Los Angeles.”

You’re hardly going to pick some actor out of Fair City. Which leads us to the logical conclusion:

6. Did the producers just wait until a big star was in close proximity to Ireland and then just go with that one?

Baftas Crowe PA Archive / PA Images PA Archive / PA Images / PA Images

“What premiere is in London this week? Ah yes, A Beautiful Mind.”

*brings in Fame Game contestant*

“Your celeb is Russell Crowe, young man.”

7. How real were the interactions with the authority figures?

interaction RTE RTE

When you were a kid you were so scared that the poor contestant was going to get thrown out of America or wherever for their annoying persistence and stalker-like questions.

8. What was the actual difference between ‘The Fame Game’ and ‘Fame Game On The Run’?

interaction2 RTE RTE

Possibly one had a competition among fans and the other didn’t. But why the different names? It’s all been lost to the mists of time.

9. Did anyone ever question the morality of sending young people to spy on celebrities?

interaction3 RTE RTE

“Don’t forget your binoculars!”

Won’t somebody *please* think of the children.

10. You’d wonder if the PR people for the celebrities ever gave them a heads up that a seriously awkward encounter was incoming?

“Look, don’t ask questions but there’s an Irish teen about to come up and give you a hug. Then you have to say a line about being on The Fame Game. It’s easier to just do it than for me to go into details.”

11. Is this *the* Pippa O’Connor popping up as a contestant?

pippaoc RTÉ RTÉ

She had to go to Edinburgh to get a kiss from yer man who played Spike in Buffy.

The Fame Game: a riddle, wrapped inside a mystery, with an awkward half-hug.

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