"My passport's in Derry, what do I do?"
"The best scriptwriters in the country couldn't have made it up"
Gerry Miller, Irish Mirror
When people think of Ireland's first reality talent series 'Popstars', it's not the winners that stick in the mind, but a young girl called Nadine Coyle from Derry who was willing to lie her way to potential stardom. Over half a million viewers tuned in to see Nadine keep up the pretence that she was 18 years of age, under constant questioning, and the unrelenting glare of the camera.
"As far as I can make out, every major star in the world has lied their way and done all sorts of other things to get to the top."
After making the final six and with the promise of stardom on the horizon, Nadine's sweet little lie was unearthed. She was only 16; the rules said you had to be over 18 so she had to leave the band. Her hopes and dreams were shattered. Or were they???
The story of Six and Nadine reads like a Shakespearean tragedy, the rise and fall of a young manufactured pop-group, and the fall and rise of a teenage starlet. Just when the viewers thought they were looking at the story of a happy ending for six nobodies becoming somebodies, the producers were handed a dramatic twist. The cameras watched as a young girl dug herself further into a hole with the guile of a seasoned thespian. Many already knew the answer but watched to see it unfold. For some it was too much too young.
"The thing that annoyed me is how it was done."
Tom Ó Brannagáín, 98FM
As Nadine was banished from the group, Six went on to enormous initial success, their first single becoming the fastest and biggest selling single of all time in Ireland.
Six looked like they were on course to join the ranks of Irish popstars setting the charts alight. Within a year a and a half, it was all over for Six, while Nadine was now celebrating even bigger success having won another talent show in England, Popstars the Rivals, and becoming a member of Girls Aloud. Only a few years later, Nadine is one of our biggest stars and Six have all but been forgotten.
Scannal revisits the story with the help of some of the main participants. Kyle Anderson, one of the final members of Six, takes us through the highs and lows of that period in his life. Linda Martin became a surrogate mother to the group and was the one to whom Nadine initially broke down. Journalist Gerry Miller's newspaper the Daily Mirror was the first to publish an interview with Nadine the day after broadcast. Tom O Brannagáin of 98FM has a lot to say on what he sees as the exploitation of a young girl for the purposes of entertainment. Roibéard Ó Bogail feels that his band was used as a storyline in a similar tv talent series rather than being taken seriously as musicians.
Scannal - Sweet Little Lies, is a modern day tragedy which looks at the phenomenon that is tv talent shows through one of it's earliest storylines. Its twists and turns show us how life can change overnight for the pawns that play the fame game.
"They showed everything. They showed every possible reaction to what we were feeling and as you can see, it hit home hard."
"I did the wrong thing......but I would do it again."
Producer / Director Michael McCormack
Presenter / Reporter Garry Mac Donncha