We may yet six weeks out from Christmas but RTÉ have released details today of one of the major New Year shows in the shape, pardon the pun, of Operation Transformation.

The show has become a curious mix of public health advertorial, multimedia event and fitness guide for those looking to lose the pounds.

There’s nothing much like it anywhere else but it works and the proof lies in this being its twelfth season.

Every March when it comes to an end there is a general sense of whether we really need it but the answer always comes back yes.

Since Gerry Ryan hosted the first series a decade ago we have all become more conscious of diet and health and yet we still have a national obesity crisis and if a TV show can attract viewers to be a little better to themselves, as well as advertising and sponsorship money for itself then why wouldn’t you?

Kathryn Thomas is back at the helm again with Karl Henry and Eddie Murphy looking after physical and mental fitness; Healthy Ireland Council Member Aoife Hearne on nutrition and Dr Sumi Dunne joining the show for the first time to look after the general health of the team leaders.

Twenty hopefuls today moved another step closer to becoming one of the five leaders we will take into our homes to watch them strip down and lose those kilogrammes.

The aspiring leaders from all over the country gathered together for the first time in SportsLink, Santry, in Dublin to be physically and emotionally assessed for a possible place in the 12th series.

The new series will air on RTÉ One in early January 2019. Last year’s programme was sponsored by state agency Safefood.

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