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"Where'd you get your shades?'- Francie Boylan on that What's Snots video and Christmas at The Den

Kevin from Galway. Hero of Ireland.

snots

“WHERE DID YA get your shades?”.

It’s the question heard around the world, and one of the many, many classic lines from one of the greatest telly moments ever to come out of Ireland.

Children’s’ TV quiz What’s Snots and the now infamous game between Amy from Cavan and Kevin from Galway is one of the former Den presenter Francie Boylan’s most abiding professional memories.

As quizmaster of What’s Snots, it was his job to keep it all together when it all started to fall apart, becoming apparent that one child in particular didn’t have much of a notion what was going on.

Source: icanabelieveit/YouTube

It was the first of April, so I was a bit suspicious. We would always talk to the kids off air before the quiz just to explain what was going to happen and how they needed to guess what ‘person, place, thing, object’ Snotser was supposed to be.

Boylan told DailyEdge that he had his suspicions that neither child really had a grasp on the concept going into the game, but “we went live and next thing the young buck turns around and says ‘where’d you get your shades?’”.

And all my worst fears are confirmed.

What follows is a masterclass in struggling to hold it together on live television, as Kevin becomes more confused and Francie suspects that maybe there’s prank being played on them.

You can see a moment where Dustin actually leaves to ask the producer if they’re having us on. I was looking behind the camera getting hand gestures that they weren’t having us on.

It was a real game of What’s Snots and Francie just had to carry on, struggling to hold in a fair amount of shakey-shoulders laughing.

franc

In the end both children were given the prize of a bicycle and the clip went down in history after appearing in the extras of a Dustin DVD and being subsequently posted on YouTube.

Christmas morning

Like Ray D’Arcy and Ian Dempsey before him, Francie Boylan was part of The Den’s live Christmas morning broadcast, pre-recording a segment for the early 7am risers, and then appearing live in studio for a few hours on Christmas day after a festive film.

And he has his sister to thank for his appearance in Donnybrook on 25 December:

I was at home in Manorhamilton on Christmas Eve, and I wasn’t driving at the time so I had to get my sister to give me a lift up, wait for me to do the show, and then drive us both back to Leitrim.

The other nine occupants of the Boylan house would have had the dinner eaten by the time the pair made it back, but Francie says “I loved it. It never bothered me. I grew up watching The Den. To be there on Christmas Day was just amazing.

I have savage memories of going to Lapland for Christmas specials and I remember meeting Santa, and he was looking a bit thin; a bit light around the belly. The smell of drink off him would knock a horse. Anyway we were all up a mountain filming and next thing Santa was away on one of the skidoos, leaving us up there with all the equipment.

Is this the way to Amarillo?

Francie presented The Den on RTÉ 2 from 2003 to 2005, and was its last presenter, taking over the reins from Damien McCaul, who had carried on the legacy of Ray D’Arcy and Ian Dempsey.

He remembers Draw with Don Conroy fondly, although his art skills weren’t really up to scratch.

I was red raw useless at drawing, and Don would have the patience of a saint telling you to ‘draw the oval shape, you’re doing great’ and I’d be thinking ‘yeah I get the hang of this’ and then it would just look like a cross between a cat and a cow.

Boylan’s also remembered for RTÉ’s take on Tony Christie’s Is This The Way To Amarillo?’, roping in the likes of Mary Kennedy, Joe Duffy and Larry Gogan.

Source: Francie Boylan/YouTube

He says he feels “sad” in the wake of the news that RTÉ is to outsource its Young People’s programming.

It’s sad because there’s a lot of great people in there and I feel sorry for them. I suppose it means there might be opportunities for young production companies to get involved but it is an awful shame.

We’ll always have Kevin from Galway, wherever he is.

Francie Boylan currently presents The Francie Boylan Show on Ocean FM which broadcasts to the Northwest of Ireland. In 2013 he won Gold at the PPI National Radio Awards for Best Magazine Programme. This year at the PPIs he won Silver for his feature The Buck Naked. 

Read: ‘It was absolutely live’ – Ian Dempsey reminisces on Christmas morning in The Den>

More: ‘It was the most special thing in the world’ – Ray D’Arcy’s lovely memories of Christmas on The Den>

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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