I’m not sure if it has been officially announced yet, but I’ve been told by people ‘in the know’ that RTE have cancelled The Den. To those not of Irish descent (or, if you were born after the early nineties), The Den was THE television show for children (and laterally the adults who ‘happened’ to be in the room by some strange chance…). The easiest way to describe it in its prime would be to take your favourite Muppets, have them on TV every day and somehow never lower their quality of entertainment. Zig and Zag alone were so popular the UK TV station Channel 4 stole them… Stole them from the children of Ireland! The success of the show lay in the fact that it was helmed initially by seasoned host Ian Dempsey and later by child psychologist Ray D’Arcy, both of whom actively sought to engage their prepubescent (and older) audience with fun and surreality and ludicrous plotlines, almost all of which were engaged within the confines of their one-camera box-set. There was no attempt at making ‘sophisticated’ or ‘mature’ viewing for its childish audience – it was big and silly and loud. It revelled in these things and defined entertainment for a generation of children.

So initially it annoyed me that the Z-list celebrity-wannabes who took over the series in the wake of Ray D’Arcy’s departure (to say nothing of the glorious puppets which either left or were ousted from their presence within the show) had managed to topple this behemoth of my childhood. Then it occurred to me that the aforementioned presenters left many, many years ago and it took the doofs currently presenting it twelve years to muck it up.

That’s all sorts of wonderful, when you think about it, and it’s certainly how I will remember The Den: A children’s entertainment show so awesome, it took idiots over a decade to run it into the ground.