Documentary on One

Generation X-Factor

Jedward-mania hit the country in the autumn of 2009. This documentary looks at life inside the pop bubble - and what happens when the bubble bursts.

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Documentary maker: Nicoline Greer

More Information

Generation X-Factor

Suitable for: All students from 1st year – TY

Documentary length: 37 mins

To download the worksheet, simply right click on 'Download the Junior Cycle Worksheet' link on your left - and select 'Save Link As'.

Note: The documentary contains some expletives. We have chosen clips which do not contain any bad language but students will encounter some if they listen to the documentary in full.

In the past, finding fame relied on talent and being in the right place at the right time. Since the birth of reality TV, popstars and fame can be manufactured, sometimes overnight. As students will be aware, the Irish music industry has had its fair share of reality music stars including Jedward, the famous twins who shot to fame after The X Factor. In this documentary, Nicoline Greer talks to those Irish contestants that have gone before John and Edward and chased the X-Factor dream including Emma O’Driscoll who was part of the band Six created from the winners of the Irish programme Popstars; Tabby Callaghan who was a finalist in the first X-Factor in 2004, and to Eoghan Quigg, who came third in the X-Factor in 2009.

The thematic unit of work uses the documentary as a primary text, as is recommended in the English Specification.

  • In studying the documentary, students engage with all four LITERACY skills, i.e.  Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
  • The oral and written assignments support development of JUNIOR CYCLE KEY SKILLS as well as a selection of LEARNING OUTCOMES from the ENGLISH SPECIFICATION.
  • In a carefully staged, AFL process, the unit begins with pre-listening, challenging students to tap into their prior knowledge, their thoughts and feelings about the context in the text.
  • The documentary, for classroom purposes has been divided into short, relevant clips and the associated activities/ worksheets will develop a variety of comprehension skills, e.g. anticipation; active-listening; discussion; post-listening and reflective/ creative activities.
  • Methodologies used in the teaching and learning resources encourage the student to become a critical, autonomous, self-directed and reflective learner. This is facilitated through AFL tasks which include peer and self-reflection sheets.
  • By the end of this unit of work, students will be ready to complete a summative assessment task, suitable for the Oral Communication Task. An outline of the CBA can be found in the specification for Junior Cycle English (October 2015) which is available on the JCT website       

Throughout the unit of work, students will be guided through activities which include:
- A pre-listening discussion about the central theme (fame)
- A short active-listening exercise to identify the characteristics of a good opening
- Making notes on various characters in the documentary
- A series of multiple-choice comprehension questions about the documentary content
- A memory activity requiring close active-listening
- Using the documentary as a springboard into creative work designing and promoting their own band

The unit builds up to the final, summative task; to plan and record a mock interview intended for radio exploring the central theme of Fame.  

The summative task is preceded by scaffolding activities, followed by AfL materials including self and peers assessment activities.


Programme Notes

Schoolboys John and Edward Grimes are part of a generation that dream of fame and of being celebrities.

Though the television judges repeatedly told them that they couldn’t sing, with their unique style and self-belief, John and Edward built up a huge fanbase, especially among thirteen and fourteen year old girls.

Hairdressers reported people coming in looking for the ‘Jedward’ hairstyle. Facebook groups quickly gathered thousands of members both in favour or against the twins.

Every Saturday and Sunday evening, the Lord Lucan pub was packed out with supporters of the twins. And after they were eliminated from the competition, extra security had to be employed to bring them to their appearance on the Late Late Show Toy Show, such were the numbers of fans outside the building.

The Documentary on One talks to those Irish contestants that have gone before John and Edward and chased the X-Factor dream.

Programme maker Nicoline Greer meets Emma O’Driscoll who was part of the band Six that was created from the winners of the Irish programme Popstars; Tabby Callaghan who was a finalist in the first X-Factor in 2004, and to Eoghan Quigg, who came third in last year’s X-Factor.

She finds out what they have been doing since the television shows ended and how all three eventually found themselves back in their hometowns, wondering what to do next.

Playing to 120,000 people in the Phoenix Park, living with Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne in their L.A. mansion and supporting a Boyzone tour were some of the experiences that these three will remember for the rest of their lives

But the Documentary on One also uncovers some of the challenges that young and often naïve people have to deal with when dealing with the music business and the huge machine that is the X-Factor.

Recorded, compiled and narrated by Nicoline Greer.

Sound Supervision by Mark McGrath.

First broadcast 23rd January 2010.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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