Sunday Long Reads: The best interviews of 2015, FIFA's awful movie and why does mistletoe appear at Christmas?

Kick back with a cup of coffee and catch up on the best of from this week.

BY Adrian Collins 10:00 Sunday 27 December 2015, 10:00 27 Dec 2015

From the terrible FIFA movie United Passions to the origin of the tradition that sees us hang mistletoe in the house around Christmas, there's plenty to choose from in this week's Long Reads. 

Jason Barry reveals just how "weird" it was to work on the awful FIFA movie

Viewers hated it (well, the very few who saw it did), critics hated it and even actors that starred in it really hated it, as Jason Barry, who played Dano in Love/Hate told us this week.

The FIFA movie better known as United Passions was launched at Cannes 2014, but flopped spectacularly upon its US release in June. It was back in the news on Monday when Tim Roth, the man who played banned FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed what he thought of it in a Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' session, so we got in touch with Barry, who also starred, to see what the mood was like on set.

Kissing, cursing, and Celtic mysticism − Why do we gather under mistletoe at Christmas?

Christmas is a season of traditions. From chestnut roasting to toasting carollers, the entire festive season is wrapped up in generations repeating the actions and customs of the past in celebration of coming together. And one of the most enduring traditions of all is the act of locking lips underneath a branch of mistletoe, sharing a kiss under its green leaves and white berries. But why do we do it, and what has it got to do with a neurotic Norseman named Baldur the Beautiful?

2015 Cinema: the best, the worst and the most talked about movies of the year

Every other outlet on the planet has been working tirelessly over their Top Ten End Of Year lists, but here at Newstalk, we've decided to do something slightly different.

Instead of the usual league-type rankings, we've decided to break it down into categories, much like at the Oscars or the Golden Globes, but without any trophies to take home at the end for the best movies of 2015.

How Steve Finnan's brief time at Espanyol faded away

One of the more bizarre sports stories from 2015 came from way back in May, when Liverpool could not track down former Ireland defender Steve Finnan for the ten year anniversary of the famous Champions League final win in Istanbul, and the #FindSteveFinnan hashtag was born.

The Limerick-born full-back has been keeping a low-profile since retiring and the mystery was ended by The Irish Independent and Off The Ball's Daniel McDonell on the show, when he revealed that Finnan was "in London, enjoying life out of the limelight and not seeking any form of post-football fame or media work or anything like that. I believe he's pretty contented and happy about that".

But Liverpool wasn't the only club he played for in his time in the game, as he was one of few Irish players to travel to Europe with a fleeting spell at the city of Barcelona's other big football club, Espanyol.

The best Newstalk interviews of 2015

It was a memorable year on Newstalk, with a massive range of voices contributing on the important stories of the last 12 months.

From coverage of the Marriage Referendum and the often heated, emotional, debates that transpired, to a former Minister of Justice reciting his poetry to Seán Moncrieff, there was rarely a moment to switch off.


Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week