Sunday 11 December 2016

Ryan Tubridy steps back in time for '1916 edition of Liveline'

Published 26/03/2016 | 09:53

Pictured at the launch of '16 Letters at the Witness History Centre in the GPO was '16 Letters host Ryan Tubridy with Genevieve Harden who is interviewed on the show and GPO actor Aidan J Collins. Pictur: Conor McCabe Photography
Pictured at the launch of '16 Letters at the Witness History Centre in the GPO was '16 Letters host Ryan Tubridy with Genevieve Harden who is interviewed on the show and GPO actor Aidan J Collins. Pictur: Conor McCabe Photography
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Pictured at the launch of '16 Letters at the Witness History Centre in the GPO was '16 Letters host Ryan Tubridy with some of those interviewed on the show Tessa Finn, Genevieve Harden, Fr Bryan Shortall and Andrea Martin. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography

Ryan Tubridy has said his favourite story from his new centenary TV show reminded him of a "1916 version of Liveline".

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The Late Late Show host will take centre-stage in a special programme entitled 16 Letters that airs tomorrow and explores some of the real stories behind letters written during the time of the Rebellion.

"After the Rising, there was a compensation board set up, so if your bike was stolen or your window was smashed or something like that happened you were entitled to write and get money for replacements," he said.

"They found a whole bunch of letters which were like 1916's version of Liveline with people ringing in to complain about what had happened to them - despite the fact their country had just had this rebellion.

Pictured at the launch of '16 Letters at the Witness History Centre in the GPO was '16 Letters host Ryan Tubridy with some of those interviewed on the show Tessa Finn, Genevieve Harden, Fr Bryan Shortall and Andrea Martin. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography
Pictured at the launch of '16 Letters at the Witness History Centre in the GPO was '16 Letters host Ryan Tubridy with some of those interviewed on the show Tessa Finn, Genevieve Harden, Fr Bryan Shortall and Andrea Martin. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography

"It was comical, but in context it was kind of a bit of fun."

There are also some heart-breaking stories detailed in the 75-minute long programme recorded in the GPO, including a love story chronicled with more than 100 letters sent over six months in 1916.

Viewers will hear details of an emotional letter sent by a man to his wife after he had been condemned to death along with an account from a child caught up in the crossfire of the Rising.

Read more: Tubridy earns RTÉ's biggest salary as Duffy enjoys €113k pay increase

Tubridy, who is a massive history buff, said it was "very special" to get permission to film the programme in the GPO.

He described it as the "crucible of the revolution", which only added to the atmosphere of the programme featuring relatives of those who were caught up in the Rising.

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"We were filming at night time, it was a Sunday and between the history of the letters and the historians putting them into context, the physicality of the place was extraordinary and it feels like hallowed turf. That's what makes it so special," he said.

"The ghosts of the past are mingling with punters buying stamps and it's quite magical and other-worldly, but historically it's very evocative and I think we've tried to capture that in the programme."

The GPO's new Witness History Visitor Centre was opened yesterday by acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

'16 Letters is on RTE One tomorrow at 7pm.

Herald

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