Paul Healy’s Week


What now for Late Late?

Ryan Tubridy today announced that he’s stepping down as host of the Late Late Show.

I know he’s a nice guy; talented, personable, friendly. We chatted on his radio show once, Ryan interviewing me on a Roscommon link to a UK story, the exchange perfectly friendly. I’m sure he didn’t know he was speaking to a former LLS loyalist turned LLS (modern-day) Denier.

I loved the Gay Byrne era. The Late Late Show was and is a national institution. But it has had its day, and is almost certainly beyond rescue. On a superficial level, it’s still alive; in reality, it’s a ghost from a different era. Even the best racehorses are eventually put out to grass. The LLS needs to be radically revamped, or binned.

When we needed it, really needed it, the LLS served us well. Sacred cows were attacked; it became a mirror on our complex nation. World famous celebrities appeared. There was entertainment, drama, rows, controversy, Gaybo a world class ringmaster.

Now, it is a shadow of then, no longer a cultural force, barely relevant. In the Tubridy era, guests are variously patronised, let off the hook, allowed to glory in their own self-importance. The conveyor belt of repeat guests is almost farcical. Don’t watch it if you don’t like it, the critics of the critics say, but that’s easier than it sounds. You can switch channels, but can you really erase the thought that Jason Byrne or Dermot Bannon are almost certainly limbering up in the LLS green room?

As for the Misery TV element (heartbreaking segments which are much more suited to mainstream current affairs programmes), it too has made the LLS almost unwatchable for many viewers.

Good luck to Ryan. He was fantastic on the Toy Show, and can be a pleasure to listen to on radio. Now the succession race begins. The RTE financial gurus are not about to put the great beast out to grass yet.



Heroic volunteers

Successful St Patrick’s Day parades were held throughout the region. Well done to all volunteers involved in organising these great community events, which maintain an important tradition and provide such enjoyment.



Pass the remote…

An entertaining evening’s TV sport, with Ireland eventually overcoming a defiant England to claim a  magnificent Grand Slam victory. Locals who were present in ‘The Aviva’ to witness this historic win say the atmosphere was sensational.

Later, Roscommon ran Kerry close in Tralee. Later still, Mark Chapman slightly sheepishly introduced the returned Match of the Day (Gary Lineker had done an FA Cup game earlier) with the words: “…and before you ask, I was booked for this weeks ago”.



Super trooper

What a trooper the great English actor Sir Ian McKellan is. Flicking through radio stations today, I heard him being interviewed by Brendan O’Connor.

Sir Ian (83) is famous for his Shakespearean work on stage, and for numerous acclaimed film roles, including as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. Revered worldwide, the great man memorably chose to appear in Coronation Street back in 2005. Meanwhile, his scene in Extras, in which he gives a startled Ricky Gervais bizarre acting advice, is comedy gold (it’s on YouTube).

Now the legendary star is again showing his playful side, starring (as the lead character) with comedian John Bishop in a production of Mother Goose! Running in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin until this Sunday, it’s an opportunity to see a true one-off!



Latest contenders!

Ten to watch: Latest on the contenders to take over the Late Late Show hot seat…


Johnny Sexton: Could RTE try to cash in on Johnny’s current popularity? With retirement looming, he will be available for new work soon. When it comes to interviewing politicians, he could bring a much-needed ruthlessness to the role. Best of all, producers say they could borrow the great Johnny Carson intro and begin each show with a powerful ‘Here’s JOHNNY’!

The 2 Johnnies: One desperate RTE insider told the People: “We will consider the 2 Johnnies. The idea is to send a video of them to Hollywood A-listers, in the hope that the celebrities will be so confused they might just travel over to Dublin to feature on the show. Plus, er…we could borrow the great Johnny Carson intro and begin each show with a powerful ‘Here’s JOHNNIES!’”

Francis Brennan: RTE sources say they want an animated, energetic, fast-talking host who is always positive, but that hotelier and TV personality Francis might be a step too far. On the plus side, he’d give the set an immediate facelift.

Dermot Bannon: A strong contender, as the criteria includes ‘Must be able to talk incessantly, and also have a big ego’. Best of all, Bannon knows the set intimately as he appears on the show most Fridays.

Miriam Margoyles & Michael D Higgins: RTE are thought to be plotting a dramatic ‘M & M’ dream team whereby Michael D waxes lyrical and Miriam drops in expletives. Both are very popular. An insider said: “If there’s ever another lockdown, we’re confident Miriam & Michael could talk for two hours in an empty studio”.

Donald Trump: As former host of ‘The Apprentice’  Trump has TV experience, and is believed to have sufficient self-confidence to take on the role. He has told friends: “I just love Ireland. Nobody is a better TV presenter than me. And let’s face it, this show is on the decline. I want to make the Late Late Show great again!”

Kim Kardashian: The superstar was spotted supping Guinness on St Patrick’s Day in London, leading to speculation she may be in training to take up the LLS role. An RTE source said: “Tubs (Ryan Tubridy) likes a pint of Guinness, and we think this was Kim’s way of auditioning for the show. She has the glamour, the recognition factor, plus a phenomenal media profile. Then again, so has Miriam O’Callaghan!”

Oprah Winfrey: The charismatic American has all the chat show experience to effortlessly step into Tubridy’s shoes, but her $300 million per year annual earnings is thought to be more than even RTE is prepared to pay its top stars.