By Leona O’Neill
THE BBC’s newest reality show There’s No Place Like Tyrone aired this week to mixed reviews, with many social media users branding it ‘Made in Culchie’.
However local celeb Hugo Duncan has defended the show, saying ‘it’s good clean fun and a bit of craic’.
The show mirrors the format of hit reality TV programmes like The Only way is Essex and Made in Chelsea and follows the fortunes of nine Tyrone people living in what is arguably Ireland’s biggest and best county.
Narrated by Strabane’s own Hugo Duncan, the first episode in the three part series saw one of the stars – Raphoe born Bobby Patterson – plan a surprise party for his partner Lynda Hamilton from Omagh.
As part of the elaborate planning, Bobby visited the Lingerie Room at Linen Green in Moygashel to pick out something nice for his other half, heading home with a dressing gown and four black sheep he named Tyrone’s Spice Girls.
Meanwhile Fivemiletown couple Melvin and Audrey Keys were left to blow up the balloons for the surprise party in the local pub as Bobby tied a big bow to the back of a trailer holding the birthday sheep.
Also in the first programme, Ruth splits her time between her first love, the family farm, with her business as a beauty therapist but she’s taking time out to take her girlfriends to the shooting range.
But the show got rather mixed reviews online with some viewers saying ‘Tyrone is better than that’, calling the programme ‘cringey’, awful and a ‘third rate TOWIE’ while others thought it was ‘the most hilarious thing on TV’.
The show’s narrator Hugo Duncan told the UH the show was ‘good clean fun and good craic’.
“People have so many varied tastes,” he said. “I thought it was good and funny. I really enjoyed it. I thought Bobby and Lynda were hilarious. But you can’t please everyone all the time.
“I just think isn’t it great that there is something on at that time of night that is good, pure, clean fun. Tyrone is such a beautiful place and there is so much to be seen here, and it was showing the farming community, and all the diversity in it, from beauty salons to gun shootings.
“I couldn’t say that anyone did any harm to Tyrone at all. But people can find fault with it if they want to find fault.
“But I have been hearing nothing but good things about it. I thought it showed the beauty of Tyrone. I thought it was lovely.”
However the BBC continuity announcer did not agree. As the credits rolled at the end of his show he told viewers, “Well if you want anymore punishment, I mean tales from Tyrone, it is back again same time next Monday.”
The show continues tonight on BBCNI at 10.35pm.