The Shape I'm In: Dustin The Turkey

YOU can’t print that,” says Dustin. And he’s right. Whether he’s slagging off celebrities or revealing his fantasies about Irish models, the cheeky turkey loves to flex his wings and push the boundaries, showing little mercy for his prey.

The Shape I'm In: Dustin The Turkey

To be fair, he does have a caring side. A Unicef ambassador, he was “knighted by Roger Moore” and has performed in South Africa twice.

“It’s brilliant because kids are the same all over the world. You go and do a couple of farts, and they all laugh their heads off. I always get one of their leaders to give me a kiss — it’s just great crack.”

Never one to shy away from the limelight, he is appearing in the Olympia’s panto, Freezin’ The Story of the Snow Queen, alongside comedian Al Porter.

“We’ve got to make sure that happiness happens and romance happens — there’s going to be a lot of kids shouting, a lot of adults shouting, it’s going to be just brilliant fun.”

And he has plans to belt out a few of his former number hits while on stage. From Sweet Caroline, with Joe Dolan to Rat Trap with Bob Geldof, he has had eight number one singles.

“It’s mad. I haven’t a note in my head — not to mind in my wallet.”

Few would disagree, following his poor result at the Eurovision, when he represented Ireland in 2008.

Like a lot of ‘people’ in show business, he is coy about his age. He first appeared on RTÉ’s The Den in 1989 but did a “Bart Simpson and stopped ageing at 12”.

Whatever his exact age, Dustin has to be Ireland’s oldest turkey. So how does he account for his longevity?

“Hanging around with vegetarians and hiding out in places where people wouldn’t bother looking for you like Cavan or Leitrim. Also, looking after myself and appearing on television around Christmas — once you highlight yourself in December, people you know will look out for you.

“And I play around at the Seoige sisters’ house a lot.”

Freezin’ The Story of the Snow Queen, runs at The Olympia from December 18 to January 10. Tickets from ticketmaster.ie or the Olympia Theatre box office.

What shape are you in?

I’m toning down because the time of the year it is. I think I’ve lost six or eight pounds. I look more like a goose than a turkey. To be honest with you, I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m down to about two stone.

What is your exercise routine?

I have a treadmill. I do weightlifting and stuff like that. I just look after me body.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

Mostly I’m vegetarian — but I have a bit of duck every now and again. That’s why I’ve lived so long.

What are your guilty pleasures?

I do like battered burgers and deep-fried Mars bars — only for breakfast because my body is a temple. And I always have a smidgeon of pesto on top — just to show I’m cultured.

What would keep you awake at night?

The oven door — I’m awake the whole of December, just thinking about it. And I have this recurring nightmare that one day I’ll wake up with a head like Ryan Tubridy.

How do you relax?

I go into RTÉ to relax. You don’t do anything in there — you just sit on your Nat King Cole.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Morrissey, Chris Martin from Coldplay, and Linda McCartney. It would be a very dull dinner party because we are all vegetarians.

What is your favourite smell?

Burdock chippers. Or Miriam O’Callaghan’s aftershave.

Is there anything you’d lie to change about your appearance?

I’d like my nose to be smaller. When I go out in Dublin people think I’m Bono.

What annoys you about others?

Birds with moustaches, body odour and people with Kerry accents.

What trait do you least like about yourself?

I’m perfect. How dare you ask. Sometimes I do say things that I regret.

Do you pray?

Yes, Christmas Eve. A lot. Funnily enough, I don’t pray for another 364 days.

What would cheer up day?

Nothing that a Lotto win wouldn’t sort out or maybe a job in a proper television station, or Georgia Salpa leaving that fella she married and coming to live with me. Besides that, everything else is perfect.

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