RTE fashion show going Off the Rails?

AS THEIR hit RTÉ show Off The Rails enjoys its eighth year, presenters Pamela Flood and Caroline Morahan’s reign as the country’s favourite fashionistas would seem unassailable.

And with their manicured fingertips firmly on the bellybutton of Ireland’s fashion zeitgeist, they appear more than qualified to hold forth on beauty tips and high-street trends.

Such is the show’s popularity that it is regularly inundated by women keen to improve their own appearance at the behest of any one of the show’s roster of socalled image consultants.

But now it looks like the show’s presenters are heading for something of a makeover of their own. And it could be far more extreme in nature than either of them realise.

Indeed, there is even talk that Off The Rails may be shuddering towards an unseemly halt.

A behind-the-scenes meeting recently highlighted the need to ditch one of the show’s more successful segments, the Beat The Stylist slot.

And the Irish Mail on Sunday has learned that independent production companies have been approached by RTÉ to come up with ‘ideas for a new fashion show’.

Staff at one company – Coco Television – confirmed it was ‘one of many’ who recently submitted a number of proposals for lifestyle programmes ‘including fashion’.

MAKEOVER: Off The Rails presenters Caroline Morahan and Pamela Flood Beat The Stylist has been scrapped Both former journalist Caroline and ex-Miss Ireland Pamela are said to have been ‘shell-shocked’ after staff on the show were told the future of the show was in doubt.

It is understood that at least one young stylist and image consultant has already been signed up to front a new fashion programme for RTÉ in 2008.

That Off The Rails could be taken off air has stunned fashion and TV industry insiders alike.

Both presenters have proved very popular with viewers, regularly drawing in more than 430,000 viewers each week.

A spokesman for Coco Television said last night: ‘RTÉ are looking for ideas on fashion shows but there has been no final decision for the replacement of Off The Rails. We don’t even know if they are even going to replace Off The Rails.

‘Although, along with a number of other production companies, we have submitted fashion ideas, we have received no commission to produce a new show.’ An RTÉ spokeswoman said: ‘No final decision has been taken as to whether there will be another Off The Rails.

‘It has been phenomenally successful and indeed is in the middle of its eighth and most successful run.’ She added: ‘What has been scrapped is Beat The Stylist.’ The arrival of a new producer has led to the show appearing to be far sharper and racier than in previous years.

Talk of the show’s demise may be exaggerated but it joins a growing chorus in favour of younger, more fresh-faced presenters. Is this the beginning of the end for the long-running fashion show?