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No Place Like HomeRTÉ One, Friday, 7.30pm

Webchat with Bob Kelly

No Place Like Home presenter Bob Kelly was online to answer your questions in a live webchat on 30th January 2006. You can read his answers here.

Conor Waring: "Hi! How did you get this wonderful job?!"...
Answer: It was my idea so there was no way any other fecker was getting his hands on it.

Michael: "How did you meet Alexey and what about him inspired you to visit his home and family"...
Answer: The director of that show was from Cavan and when he saw Alexey he was very keen to go with him. He was a very strong subject and we couldn't resist the Paddy Kavanagh connection!

John: "Hi Bob, are there any countries you haven't been to that you would like to visit?"...
Answer: Yes, you better believe it. Out of over 200 countries in the world and we have only visited eight with the show. There is one Madagascan in Ireland, that would be a fun one to do.

Shay: "Have you any advice for someone who lives for travelling and would love to travel write or film as a career?"...
Answer: Patience, be ready to refused and have a lot of doors shut in your face. But if you really love it, persevere. Why not start with a weblog?

Anne Mc: "Which of the countries would you like to visit again?"...
Answer: All of them to be honest. But particularly the larger ones where we didn't see very much of their country, for example the Philippines has 7107 islands and we saw two!

Emma Bates: "How do you think the camera affects what people say Do the families really open up with the camera Are you doing any feature on Japan Emma"...
Answer: We were very surprised by how honest and forthcoming people were in front of the camera, remember we're just showing up on their doorstep shoving a camera in their face. And also, the reaction to the video messages was very surprising because alot of these people are in telephone contact with each other but the camera seemed to bring something else out in them. Would love to do something on Japan, I lived there for a few months and fell in love with the country.

Aoife: "Do you think Irish people are racist?"...
Answer: Yes and no. Racism can come in varying degrees and I certainly think that if the economy were to turn down that tensions would heighten. As a famous Irish comedian said recently, Irish people might be racist, we just haven't had anyone to practice on yet. But conversely, there is nothing I hate more than political correctness.

keith: "Do the New Irish feel welcome here?"...
Answer: I have met a lot of people recently who complain that Irish are very friendly at first but don't seem to develop a strong relationship for instance, a Polish newspaper had an article complaining that many Polish girls with Irish boyfriends haven't been brought home to meet the mammy. But then, there are those like Said from Morocco who feels more at home in Thomastown than he did in his native El Hajeb.

Claire: "What were the most challenging parts of working on the programme?"...
Answer: The poor quality of the directors and cameramen I was forced to work with :) But seriously, with all the travel we got pretty tired towards the end and it was hard to be fresh and enthusiastic after 120,000 miles!

Anne Mc: "Did you find that your impression of migrants change over the course of the programme?"...
Answer: Yes, there's so much nonsense talked about various different nationalities and these generalisations frustrate me. So it was great to get beyond those stereotypes.

Mark: "What is the worst airport you have been to?"...
Answer: Its a toss between Doula, Cameroon with it's bizarre architecture from somewhere in the sixties, and Cheboxary in the Republic of Mari El which was held together with cellotape.

seamus: "Do you like football bob?"...
Answer: Yes, I'm a natural. Wait till you see my skill in the Brazilian episode, where a team of nine and ten-year olds run rings around me. Its the taking part that counts.

Joan: "What are plans career wise when the NPLH series finishes?"...
Answer: I've already applied for Micheal McDowell's job as I heard there is a vacancy coming up.

Martina: "Do you think any of the New Irish are being exploited over here?"...
Answer: I've heard some horror stories about people who are hired and surrendered their passports to employers and are basically kept in slavery. However, for a lot of people working in low-paid jobs here, they are better off living here in comparison to conditions at home. Most of us remember working minimum wage or worse in the States, for instance.

Keith: "Of all the places you went where would you recommend people to go to and why?"...
Answer: It depends on yourself I suppose. For instance, Cameroon wouldn't suit a lot of the more luxurious travellers, but I would have no hesitation recommending it to more "hardy" types. French Martinique would be an ideal romantic getaway - wait till you see it.

James: "What would you do to our immigration laws if you were Minister for Justice"...
Answer: Its a very difficult area and I know the Minister is getting alot of stick for it. But he is stuck between public opinion and a clear need for workers particularly in the more menial areas. I'm all for clear and simple rules that are applied fairly across the board.

Paul: "What do you never travel without?"...
Answer: Earplugs and a good book.

Anne Mc: "Where would you like to visit in Series II of No Place Like Home?"...
Answer: We still haven't done "the big three"; Nigeria, China and Poland, so I guess we would have to try them. Then a couple of lesser known countries would be nice too for instance somewhere with snow - Tibet?

Jim Bob: "Who's a better presenter you or Kathryn Thomas?"...
Answer: Kathryn looks a lot better in a bikini than I do.

Patrick: "Did you feel strange as a European travelling to poorer countries for the sake of a tv show while the key family member was back in Ireland?"...
Answer: I think this is a very good question. The short answer is yes, particularly when you are pointing an expensive camera at someone who is struggling to survive. We can only hope that we are doing a little bit of good by highlighting their situation. In the Philippines they say every tourist dollar brings them a foot away from poverty.

Chinggis Khan: "How do you handle the fame Bob?"...
Answer: What fame? Too many people are watching Coronation Street. STOP WATCHING CORONATION STREET!!!!

Eddie: "Are you hopeful that the new Irish will be able to settle in Ireland?"...
Answer: Absolutely. The Under-12 football team in Gort, Co Galway, would probably beat the national side because of the influx of Brazilians; the choice of food on Parnell St is as good as downtown Seoul. These people bring a refreshing difference to our culture.

Sean: "Favourite holiday destination"...
Answer: Summer - Achill. Winter - Val Gardenia. Manhattan anytime!

Niamh: "Whose stories particularly struck a chord with you?"...
Answer: Obviously Aline's story was very emotional as she hadn't seen her twin boys in seven years, but I could really relate to Gusheran's story as I had worked for the family business as well. Nadia from Martinique was also somebody that you could relate to particularly if you ever wanted to leave Ireland to see something of the world.

Kieran: "Does it take long to film each NPLH programme?"...
Answer: We try to keep it natural and simple where possible but on several occasions we have had to wait to four or five hours for trains to go by to get a good shot. We allow ourselves a minimum of a week in a country and despite the show only being 24 minutes, we have come back with 22 hours of footage... plenty of DVD extras.

Tony Davis: "What do you think is the right age to start backpacking around the world?"...
Answer: As soon as is legally possible. I started with Ireland at 16 and by 18 I was inter-railing in Europe - a most valuable experience.

Maisy: "I love your show. Keep up the good work!"...
Answer: Thank you Maisy. We do our best. Also, thank you to everyone who submitted their questions today. I really enjoyed answering them. Don't forget to stay tuned on Sunday nights, RTÉ One at 7.30pm.

Bob Kelly
Bob Kelly