Saturday 23 September 2017

The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE Radio 1 review - 'Not bad at all from the new (old) boy'

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Surprisingly, for such an experienced broadcaster, Ray D’Arcy sounded a little nervous at the start of his debut Radio 1 show (they brought over the name from Today FM, incidentally).

The Kildare man began with a rambling monologue which incorporated: the cost of soup in the RTE canteen, how one cent pieces literally cost more to manufacture than they’re worth, and his return to the state broadcaster. (Meeting Larry Gogan, he said, made it all okay; but sure, Larry’s been doing that for the entire nation for decades.)

There were self-mocking jokes about remembering to say “good afternoon” and not “good morning”, as he would have been used to, or hitting the wrong buttons in studio. He even messed up cuing the first song, Nina Simone’s great cover of To Love Somebody. 

But it was all rather endearing, and D’Arcy relaxed into it quickly enough after that. He read out some “welcome back” texts and slags from the audience, then moved onto his first guest: Gaybo discussing that Stephen Fry interview which went viral (Gaybo amusingly described the video catching fire as being “a miracle”!)

Gay was a clever choice to help ease Ray into it: he’s a good old pro, articulate, used to the process and always gives good interviews. Then D’Arcy chatted to Paul Howard, creator of the Ross O’Carroll Kelly phenomenon (one million books sold to date, the stage adaptation rerunning and a TV show potentially in the works).

First interviewed by Ray 19 years ago, Howard was another good choice: funny and self-deprecating. “My job is to sit at a computer for ten hours,” he deadpanned, “thinking like this moron!”

They also covered Paul’s excellent “44 life lessons” newspaper article, although I still can’t forgive him for comparing Elvis negatively to Roy Orbison. What the fock, like?

The second half of The Ray D’Arcy Show dipped a bit for me, particularly during the consumer affairs section: price comparisons and information on right of returns.

Conor Pope is a chatty and engaging fella, but personally I find this stuff pretty boring. In fairness, a lot of people feel differently.

The collective interview with three people who’d quit smoking, likewise, didn’t overly excite me; while interesting enough, it felt slow and overlong. But the 10-piece acapella group Straight No Chaser, live from one of RTE’s TV studios, were excellent. And newsreader Eileen Dunne’s droll “Welcome back, honey” to D’Arcy made me laugh.

It’s hard to know, obviously, where the show will go in the next six or twelve months, but this promised well. Not bad at all from the new (old) boy.

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