Dustin the Turkey
|Dustin the Turkey|
|First appearance||The Den (1989)|
|Last appearance||The Den (2020)|
|Portrayed by||John Morrison|
|Occupation||Cowboy Builder, Singer, TV presenter|
Dustin the Turkey, a character performed by John Morrison is a former star of RTÉ television's The Den between 1989 and 2010 and from 2020. He has been described as "the most subversive comedy force on Irish television".
A turkey-vulture with a strong Dublin accent hailing from Sallynoggin, Dustin first appeared on The Den with Zig and Zag in December 1989, but remained there after their 1993 departure to Channel 4. He also outlasted four human co-hosts, all of whom moved to radio, Ian Dempsey, Ray D'Arcy, Damien McCaul and Francis Boylan Jr.
Dustin has also had a successful music career with chart-topping singles in his native land. He won the public vote to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song "Irelande Douze Pointe", though he did not progress past the first semi-final stage.
Dustin released his Greatest Hits album in 2001. On 4 November 2005, he released his first new single for four years, "Patricia the Stripper", a duet with Chris de Burgh aka Christy Burger. On 11 November 2005, he then released a new album, also his first for four years, called Bling When You're Minging (a play on the title of Robbie Williams' 2000 album Sing When You're Winning).
These albums featured backing vocals from many Irish stars including Ronnie Drew, Bob Geldof, Boyzone and the late Joe Dolan. Many of his songs are parodies of either folk songs or well known chart hits from across the decades.
- (1990) "The Christmas No. 1" (Zig and Zag feat. Dustin the Turkey) (IE #1)
- (1993) "Numb"
- (1994) "Spanish Lady" (feat. Ronnie Drew and The Saw Doctors) (IE #1)
- (1996) "Rat Trap" (with Bob Geldof) (IE #1)
- (1996) "Christmas Tree"
- (1997) "Mary" feat Mary Robinson
- (1997) "Good Lookin' Woman" (with Joe Dolan) (IE #1)
- (1997) "Fairytale of New York" (with Dervla Kirwan)
- (1999) "32 Counties" (IE #1)
- "Christmas in Dublin"
- (2001) "Sweet Caroline" (IE #1)
- (2005) "Patricia the Stripper" (with Chris de Burgh) (IE #3)
- "True Christmas"
- "Fields of Athenry"
- "Harrell is a Lonely Dustin"
- (2008) "Irelande Douze Pointe" (IE #5)
- Not Just a Pretty Face
- Faith of Our Feathers
- Poultry in Motion
- Dustin's Greatest Hits (Ireland #4)
- Bling When You're Minging (Ireland #8)
Eurosong and Eurovision Song Contest 2008
Originally the favourite to win, Dustin was chosen by the Irish viewers at Eurosong to represent Ireland in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, becoming the first puppet to do so. Though it was not announced on the Eurosong show how many votes Dustin won, an RTÉ radio show later revealed that the second place had an average of 15 points, while Dustin had 23, so the public really did want to send a puppet to Eurovision. Despite it being a public vote, there was a mixed reaction from the live studio audience when the result was announced, including many audible boos. A panellist on the programme, former Eurovision winner Dana, stated that Ireland would be better withdrawing from the competition than sending Dustin. Despite her lack of support, past Irish Eurovision entries Dickie Rock and Maxi stated their beliefs that Dustin could win.
Dustin performed his song in the first semi-final on 20 May. The song contained, among other things, references to Riverdance ("Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance!") and Michael Flatley ("Sure Flatley he's a yank"). Dustin failed to progress beyond the Eurovision semi-final.
Dustin has often declared his interest in politics. He has campaigned in two presidential elections. He competed as Dustin Hoffman in the 1997 presidential election as both forename and surname were necessary to register. Returning officers received votes spoiled with his name in more recent elections. He received some support but many of those ballots were also spoiled. In his mock campaigns, he ran as a representative of "Fianna Fowl" (a play on Ireland's largest political party Fianna Fáil) and also of the 'Poultry Party'. His campaign manifestos have included promising "to bring the DART to Dingle", as well as making sure every young boy in Ireland got to go on a date with the Spice Girl or Pussycat Doll of their choice and industrialising all of Ireland's rural areas, while ruralising everywhere else.
His strongly-held republican views led him to publicly confront former colleagues Zig and Zag on 2Phat's 1998 Christmas Special. During the live broadcast he angrily denounced them for 'selling out to the Queen' and verbally abused both them and co-host Ray D'Arcy.
He has also led the campaign group SOLD ("Stamp Out Line Dancing").
Dustin made a film titled Dustin in Fowl Play in 2002. In this film, he and his friend, Snotser, put together a boy band called Mankind featuring band members Simon Murphy, Paul Barry, Ronan McDonald, John McCall and Chris Miller. In 2008, he made an appearance on British ITV show The Xtra Factor.
In 2009, Dustin was the subject of the documentary Dustin: 20 Years a Pluckin'.
Dustin the Turkey has been an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland since late 2009 and visited the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, where he found out at firsthand the impact of HIV/AIDS on communities and children and ways that UNICEF is working to help very young children cope.
- "The birdman of Belgrade". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "Fowl Eurovision entry for Ireland". BBC News. 24 February 2008. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- Stacey, Pat (9 November 2009). "Dustin's endurance prove he's no turkey". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2009.
- "Den and now: Ray, Dustin and Zig & Zag to reunite on new entertainment show". RTÉ. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
- Berry, Darragh (17 July 2020). "Who is Ste Brown? 'Noggin' rapper starts beef with Dustin The Turkey and unleashes curry chip baguette roll secret on world in exclusive FM104 interview". Dublin Live. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
- Corless, Damian (1 March 2008). "The birdman of Belgrade". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
- Brian Boyd (9 February 2008). "Turkey - douze points". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 5 February 2022. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
the ever-popular turkey-vulture amalgam
- "Irish Turkey Roasted in Belgrade". Sky News. 21 May 2008. Archived from the original on 20 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
- "GFK Chart-Track". Chart-track.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Dustin The Turkey – Bling When You're Mingin' – Music Charts". Acharts.us. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Ireland gets its Eurovision Turkey". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 23 February 2008. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
- Ouzounian, Richard (14 May 2009). "Riverdance: Is this the end of the line?". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- "Ireland dumped out of Eurovision". BBC News. 15 May 2009. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
- "Dustin the Turkey's Eurovision aim". BBC News. 20 May 2008. Archived from the original on 5 February 2022. Retrieved 22 November 2008.
- Dustin the Turkey Zig And Zag. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2015 – via YouTube.
- "18 must-see gems from RTÉ's huge archives… in Vine form". The Daily Edge. 26 April 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "what you can do to help unicef". Irish Independent. 12 December 2009. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- The Xtra Factor. 22 November 2008.
- "A fitting tribute to Late Late". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Dustin the Turkey to co-host TV3 Toy Show with Lucy Kennedy". RSVP.ie. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
- "Dustin the Turkey returns from his South African mission with UNICEF Ireland". Archived from the original on 30 October 2010.