Pádraig Judas O'Leprosy and Rodraig Spartacus O'Leprosy (b.1941) are the two central characters on A Scare at Bedtime, an Irish adult comedy televised puppet show and more recently The Podge and Rodge Show, a chat show in the same vein. The characters were created and are produced by Ciaran Morrison and Mick O'Hara, who also voiced the characters of Zig and Zag and Bronx Bunny and Teddy T.
Podge originally appeared on The Den, as a decidedly evil little character. At first, he was introduced as nothing more than a puppet Zag (of Zig and Zag) had found in a box amongst the rubbish behind a magic shop, and used him to practise ventriloquism, eventually performing a few dire shorts that showcased Zag's lack of skill. Zig was particularly jealous of the attention Podge was receiving.
Things took a sinister turn, however, when one day, during one of these shorts, a mysterious voice said to Zag, "aren't you a smelly stupid ugly alien". With the pieces in place for the revelation, Podge made himself fully known to the audience - alone with Zig at the conclusion of the broadcasting day, he moved and spoke on his own, bullying Zig, telling him he would be his friend if he stole the bike presently being offered as a competition prize. Zag and presenter Ray D'Arcy remaining oblivious to this as Podge would occasionally move in the background or be seen scheming on his own, and letters and pictures would pour in from the viewing children trying to let them know that Podge was evil. Eventually, after Zig finally spilled the beans, Podge made a power play and took over the programme for a day, revealing that he had been brought to life by a magician, but then sealed away when he turned evil. Podge also possessed some magical powers of his own that he'd learned from the magician, and turned one of the crew members into a teapot. He was finally dealt with when the magician arrived at the end of the programming day, hypnotised Podge, and took him away.
Not that that stopped him.
Podge would continue to reappear in disguise - be it as a postman, a leprechaun, a trick-or-treater, a health inspector or a taxi-driver, and once, he locked Dustin the Turkey, with whom he shared a history of physical violence, in the cupboard under the stairs and attempted to take his place by means of disguising himself with a few feathers and a coffee cup for a beak. His most daring schemes would come around the holidays - in his first Christmas-ruining scheme, he tried to ensure that Zig would receive no presents from Santa Claus, using his postman disguise to enter their home, break one of the presents, for which Zig would be blamed, and also make off with a bottle of Scent of Man, a cologne which he would develop a great fondness for, which would often give away his identity. Zig was able to prove his innocence, but Podge was still intent on ruining Christmas, taking the gang's Christmas letters and not delivering them to Santa. When the Den crew set out to do the job themselves, Podge kidnapped Kris Kringle and took his place, only to be thankfully thwarted in a scuffle with Ray.
Eventually, after the departure of Zig and Zag from the show, Podge was finally well and truly caught by the Den gang, only to be freed by his never-before-seen twin brother, Rodge, posing as a policeman, who escorted him away. The Dastardly Duo continued to make trouble for the gang, mostly on the holidays, often seeking to eat Zuppy - Podge had the little creature to blame for being caught out in several of his schemes before, and seemed to have developed a taste for dog. Rodge's precise origins were never gone into (Podge's introduction, after all, happened many years before Rodge first appeared, and since young children were the target audience, and none of them would have been around for Podge's origin, it didn't really matter), but it did appear that he possessed some magic powers like Podge, as the duo were capable of vanishing into thin air. They had particular contempt for Echo Island, especially the version broadcast in Irish.
Ballydung Manor first featured in A Scare at Bedtime in the late 1990s. In earlier editions, the bedroom used by the brothers was shown extensively whilst in later episodes, the main action occurred around the kitchen table. This has remained largely the case during The Podge and Rodge Show, although the living room was featured in the Bogmannay special on New Year's Eve 2006. The underground dungeon of Ballydung Manor was also shown in an episode of the chatshow when Podge and Rodge invited guest Sheana Keane to partake in a gruesome game of Operation!.
Each episode follows the same pattern: Rodge, the dumber of the two, arrives home. Originally the pair would get into bed but in recent seasons they sit at the kitchen table. They talk about what Rodge was doing, with Podge usually insulting him. This leads Podge on to telling a story (acted out by live actors) about some people (whose names are usually sexual innuendos, e.g. Enda Meshank, Chris Peacock, Ulick McGee) who inevitably come to an unpleasant end. Rodge interrupts the story with stupid comments and/or reference to masturbation. It ends with Podge punishing Rodge for no reason.
A Scare at Bedtime never officially ended and the show has run to eight series as of January 2006, with the first five series available on DVD. The series has aired in both the UK and Ireland on RTÉ Two, Tara TV, BBC UK Play and the Paramount Comedy Channel. A Scare at Bedtime was nominated in the Best Entertainment Programme category of the Irish Film and television Academy Awards in both 1999 and 2000. Winning the IFTA for Best Entertainment Programme in 2000.
First aired on February 6, 2006, The Podge and Rodge Show fulfilled the duo's main aim by being their first chatshow. It is co-hosted by Lucy Kennedy and airs at 22:50 on Monday and Tuesday nights on RTÉ Two. The show has been a phenomenal ratings success, regularly getting over 400,000 viewers a show. It won "Favourite Irish TV Show" for two years in a row at the 2006 and 2007 TV Now Awards. It was also nominated for an IFTA Award for "Best Entertainment Show 2007" and won the award in 2008. The second series began on RTÉ Two on October 16 2006, with a month's break in January before returning on February 5 2007 and running until April 2007. A third series, began on October 15 2007 ran until April 15 2008 with a months break in January. A fourth series is expected in October 2008.
New Year's Eve specials
On it the boys looked back at some of the highlights of their year. They also handed out their very own Feckin' Eejit of the Year Awards (FEEJITs) to celebrate the great tradition of Irish Feckin' Eejitry. There were nine nominees chosen from the worlds of TV, entertainment, sport and politics.
Such was the success of the original Bogmanay, Podge and Rodge hosted a second Bogmanay to ring in 2008. It featured guests Miss Ireland, Blathnáid McKenna and boxer Frank Bruno as well as Mr. Gest who was unable to be interviewed as Lucy Kennedy, venturing into his dressing room, discovered he had turned into an ape. Instead a number of previously unseen clips which were not allowed to be shown before midnight were shown, including some in which Lucy Kennedy swore. A number of "Half- Arse Hero" awards were handed out, although none of the recipients (who included Steve Staunton) were present to accept them.
People in Need Telethon 2007 special
On Friday October 26 2007 for the People in Need Telethon Podge and Rodge finally got to interview their arch-nemesis and ultimate rival Late Late Show host and "Ireland's Alan Partridge" Pat Kenny. "Do the words lamb and slaughter mean anything to you?" He was asked: "Does it get on your tits though when people are saying, Jaysus - Pat Kenny earns how much? He should be paying me to watch that shite!" He was also asked: "Where did the nickname Pat the Plank come from? Who came up with that beauty?" Pat blamed it on Eamon Dunphy. "Are you bored with the wood puns?" they asked to which Pat jibed: "In fairness lads I'm not the puppet round here." Then it was time for a quick game of "Plankety Plank" which featured author Patricia Cornwell - he'd forgotten her name; Dawn French - he'd told her he'd give her €10 not to get out of bed; Brigitte Nielsen - she'd forced him to dance live on TV. Comparing Pat's bike to Gaybo's Harley-Davidson they asked: "Did Fisher Price make that?" And then it was back to Tubbicino, Teletubby...
In April 2006, radio ads played on RTÉ radio stations revealed that Podge and Rodge would be appearing in their first ever live stage show entitled "Desperate for Housewives" in Vicar Street in Dublin. The show took place in Autumn 2006 for an initial run of 12 dates. The tickets for the first six dates sold out in a record hour and a half on the day of release. The second six dates followed and sold out as quickly. The venue owners said it was the fastest selling comedy gig ever.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Bonus Material|
|The Podge & Rodge Show - The Best of Series One||November 3 2006||Unseen pilot interview with sports presenter George Hamilton,Even More Johnny Vegas ,More Keith Duffy,Ainezone, Ballydung Weather with Martin King,Pole Dancing Competition.|
|The Podge & Rodge Show - The Cream of Series Two||November 2 2007||Miss Ballydung Pageant, Ballydung idol, Sex Toy Show with Margo, A Load of Pointless Games, Photo album, Hidden Easter Eggs.|
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Additional Information|
|Series One||2003||20||Non - broadcast pilot, Outrageous Outtakes|
|Series Two||2004||20||Uncensored version of 'Phone Home', Promotional Ads, Fester 'n' Ailin's crappy Jukebox, Outrageous Outtakes, Hidden Easter Eggs|
|Series Three||2005||20||More Outrageous Outtakes, Spunky ' the smoking' Monkey Easter Egg, Fester 'n' Ailin's crappy jukebox Version 2.0|
|Series One and Two boxset||2005||40||Non - broadcast pilot, Outrageous Outtakes, Uncensored version of 'Phone Home', Promotional Ads, Fester 'n' Ailin's crappy Jukebox, More Outrageous Outtakes, Hidden Easter Eggs|
|Series Four and Five boxset||May 4th 2007||40||Outrageous Outtakes, Commentaries, Hidden Easter Eggs|
|Series Four||2008||20||More Outrageous Outtakes, Podge & Rodge commentary for 'Bargain Bride' episode.|
|Series Five||2008||20||Fester 'n' Ailin's Top 10 Greatest Hits|
Podge and Rodge's first book, entitled The Ballydung Bible, was released October 5 2007. It reveals much about the history of Ballydung and the surrounding areas. One excerpt reveals that their last day spent with their mother was at the age of seven on May 11 1948 after which they were locked away in Ballydung Asylum.