It’s back to the sixties with a two-part drama following on from the hugely successful ‘Showbands’ in January 2005, about aspiring showband stars and their managers. We catch up with Tony (Liam Cunningham) and his protégé Denise (Kerry Katona) on the road in their dodgy van with the California Showband. Denise is now hungry for stardom further afield, like that achieved by her hero Mervin Mooney (Chris O’Dowd). Meanwhile Tony’s fiancé Gemma (Tina Kellegher) is back home running the ballroom and dreaming of marriage, while Ricky Duvall (Tomás Ó Súilleabháin),(the showband legend who was usurped by Denise) and his manager Frank (Don Wycherley) dream of a comeback. Denise enters for the National Song Contest and things are looking rosy, until the arrival on the scene of rival singer Bella (Amy Huberman) who not only potentially scuppers Denise’s chances … but Tony’s marriage prospects too. And that’s only the beginning.
Episode 1 – Sunday 1st January 2006, 9.35pm
Tony realises that Denise’s dreams amount to more than a few gigs in Cavan and four hours on the road in his dirty old van, so he enters her in the National song contest. With the promise of fame and fortune in Europe if they win, Denise and the band are excited.
Frank (Don Wycherley) is excited too when he overhears Tony’s new plan. Manager of showband legend Ricky Duvall (Tomás Ó Súilleabháin), Frank needs help from wherever he can get it. Ricky hasn’t done a gig since Denise “stole his crowd” in series one. In the meantime his band has deserted him and Ricky has piled on the pounds. Getting to the heat is the first step in Ricky’s rehabilitation. Unfortunately they blag a lift off Tony and his dirty old van breaks down. None of them make it to the heat.
Rival ballroom owner, Alan Rendell (Denis Conway) spots an opportunity for success and revenge on Tony in the form of rival showband singer Bella (Amy Huberman)
Tony persuades Father Healy to host a new heat of the National Song Contest in the local parish hall. When Bella shows up with Rendell in tow, Tony knows they’re up against it. The evening goes from bad to worse and by the end of the evening Tony’s Eurovision win and relationship with Gemma seem to be slipping away ..?
Episode 2 – Monday 2nd January 2006 9.35pm
With things still awry between Tony and Gemma, drastic action is needed and Tony attempts to win Gemma back by serenading her! Things do not however go to plan and when Tony sees Gemma pull up in Rendell’s Bentley, it looks like he has lost her for good.
Tony knows he has to put his heartbreak out of his mind and get back to work. There’s one more heat left for the National song contest, but Denise and Ricky have already lost their heats to Bella, so they’re out, unless they enter as a duet. They win the heat together and now only the National song contest final up in Dublin stands between them and the Eurovision.
Tony is at an emotional low point when Ricky performs a comeback gig in the golden ballroom. Still clutching the engagement ring that Gemma returned to him he is close to tears. But seeing Ricky back on form in his ballroom, with Frank at his side, it warms Tony’s heart.
Meanwhile backstage, Mervin Mooney offers Denise a chance to join him in Las Vegas for his St. Patrick’s Day concert. It’s the biggest gig of the year. All the ‘greats’ will be there, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Will Tony lose Denise as well?
Denise (Kerry Katona)
Before Tony found her, Denise had been nothing more than a dreamer and a drifter, harbouring only dreams of becoming a singer. With Tony and Gemma’s help, Denise was launched as a showband singer, enjoying unexpected levels of popularity and success.
However in Showbands II, we see that Denise is frustrated playing the same little ballrooms week after week and dreams of emulating the success of showband star Mervin Mooney who has made it big in Vegas. Like Tony, Denise pins all her hopes on winning the National Song Contest to bring her career to the next level.
Assured by Tony that she is the best singer in the country, her confidence is shaken with the arrival of Bella (Amy Huberman). Bella do anything to win the heat and when Denise stumbles on Bella planting a kiss on Tony, her nerves are shattered and she loses the heat. How can she turn the situation around? Does Denise’s future really lie with Tony and the Californian Showband or will she be tempted to head for the stars in Vegas with Mervin Mooney?
Tony Golden (Liam Cunningham)
Tony Golden has been in the music a long time. Once a performer himself he knows all about the highs and lows of the business. The last series saw Tony struggle to hang on to the ballroom his father left him, a feat he only managed to pull off due to the surprise lucky find of Denise’s talents. In Showbands II Tony is increasingly aware that Denise’s dreams amount to more than a few gigs in Cavan and four hours on the road in his dirty old van, so he enters her in the National Song Contest. With the promise of fame and fortune in Europe if they win, Denise and the band are excited.
Tony reckons that Denise is the best singer in the country, but when Bella shows up with his arch rival Alan Rendell in tow, things don’t look so certain. Bella will do anything to win the heat so while sidling up to Tony she kisses him on the lips in view of Denise and Gemma, Tony stands to not only lose the National Song Contest heat but also his fiancé. How can he get things back on track?
Gemma (Tina Kelleher) (Tony’s fiancé)
Although delighted that Tony’s fortunes have improved since he teamed up with Denise, the trouble is that he never gets to spend any time with her and she is left running the ballroom. Pragmatic as ever, Gemma sets her heart on saving for and organising the wedding she has always dreamt of.
Tony doesn’t seem as focussed on the wedding, especially when he splashes out on a new bus for the Californian Showband. As if things aren’t tense enough, things go from bad to worse when Bella makes a play for Tony. Devastated it looks as if the wedding and romance are off … Will Denise find success in the National Song Contest and will Gemma marry the man she loves?
Frank (Don Wycherley)
Manager of showband legend Ricky Duvall (Tomás Ó Súilleabháin), Frank is in need of a bit of luck! Ricky hasn’t done a gig since Denise ‘stole his crowd’. In the meantime his band has deserted him and he desperately needs Ricky to get through in the National Song Contest. How will he fare competing against Tony and Denise? Will his luck finally change …?
Alan Rendell (Denis Conway)
Tony’s nemesis is back in this second series. Deeply envious of Liam’s success with Denise, rival ballroom owner Alan Rendell, sees his shining star in the shape of Bella (Amy Huberman), a background singer from another showband and he plots for her to replace Denise in the public’s affection.