Bosco - Ireland's favourite children's entertainer

About Bosco

(Note: It’s just not nice to refer to Bosco as “it” so for the purposes of this article we are using “he”, however this is not any statement on Bosco’s gender.)

Bosco was born in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, in 1978.

The official parentage is too difficult to determine as many people lay claim to have given birth to Bosco. We can confirm however that it had nothing to do with Zig &Zag, Dustin, or actor Bosco Hogan (nice URL by the way).

Bosco actually started out as an educational programme involving the puppet and two teachers. This in the words of Bosco producer and director Michael Monaghan “did not work”. With a bit of help from puppeteer Paula Lambert, the format changed to Entertainment and Bosco set off on the path to fame and ehm, what probably should have been fortune!

There were 386 Bosco programmes made in total, all of which were broadcast on RTE2 (and Network2) many, many times (the “Faulty Towers effect” that’s why you always thought there were more!). In later years, Bosco was the programme before ‘Dempsey’s Den’ and Bosco and Ian struck up a firm friendship.

Of course, Bosco had many friends during the television hay-days. There was Marian, Frank, Mary, Grainne, Liam, Peter and Bosco’s best friend Philip, who sadly passed away in 1987 and is still very much missed. There were also the hangers on and groupies; Gregory Graineog, the Spuds, the Plonsters, the Tongue Twisters. Ah yes when you’re on the box, everyone wants to be your friend.

In 1983 Bosco recorded his first 12″ LP – Bosco Sings. It did really well and had Bono worried!

But in 1987 Bosco went the way of many RTE greats, Miley, Carrie Crowley, Derek Davis, and lost his show. Not to be defeated, he shacked up with 2FM jock Barry Lang and his sidekick Majella Nolan to present Action Station Saturday on Saturday mornings. That lasted 3 seasons and you might remember Bosco had the challenging job of trying to remember the name of every child in Ireland who had been sick that week.

After season 3, things went bad for Bosco again. This was a dark time and our hero ventured out ‘ar an tiles’ a little more then recommended at that time. Luckily, the Gaiety Theatre was one of his regular haunts and Bosco developed a keen interest in theatre, realising it had so much more to offer then the 2 dimensional existence on TV (its true, just ask Carrie Crowley!).

And so Bosco took to the stage – playing the length and breadth of the country. Initially Frank Toomey joined him on the road but he went back to RTE to work on Bull Island. Maria McDermottroe (Glenroe, Killinaskully currently Gaiety panto) stepped into Frank’s shoes and then Conor Lambert.

Bosco’s new found love of live performance lead him, unfortunately, to the UCD Fresher’s Ball. Bosco kindly agreed to make a special guest performance at a student’s union event, naïve to the fact that it was a trap. After his performance, Bosco was accosted and bundled into a waiting van.

His bumbling captors dragged him across the globe, in ruthless pursuit of 5 minutes of fame, sending photos to the press every so often; Bosco at the Sydney Opera House, Bosco at the Golden Gate Bridge…

Although Bosco was in fear of his life, he soon realised his captors were, well, as Winnie the Pooh would say, “bears of very little brain” and he made his escape. The perpetrators were never brought to justice, but still, all these years later, Bosco gets letters from girls, who say the boys hang around in nightclubs using “I kidnapped Bosco” as a pathetic chat-up line.

Anyway, after a period of recovery, Bosco decided to pick himself up, dust himself off and go back to showbiz. Though a lot of people seem to think he retired years ago, we know that’s totally unrealistic with a mortgage to pay…the box and the magic door, these things don’t pay for themselves.

He played with Phil Coulter in the National Concert Hall, he did cabaret with Mr Pussy, and he played a sell-out run in the Gaiety.

The Celtic Tiger came and like a cultural glacier, deposited theatres in weird and wonderful places. Bosco now spends his time visiting these theatres as he tours with Sleeping Beauty and her cronies, Snow White, the 7 dwarfs, Hansel & Gretel, some ghosts and spooks, rats and mice and the odd dinosaur (when they’re in vogue).

Bosco also loves to visit children’s homes for their birthdays! In fact he’s a bit of a birthday fanatic and there’s nothing he likes more then a chat, an iced bun and a chocolate-crispie cake.

Between his stage appearances and birthday party rounds, Bosco now entertains a whole new audience of children who never saw him on TV – but funnily enough they seem to love him just as much!