Monday 26 September 2016

Tubridy left to plough a lone furrow

Ellis O'Hanlon

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

Ryan Tubridy
Ryan Tubridy

The National Ploughing Championships attracted a Who's Who of Irish broadcasting, not least Today FM's Last Word, which on Wednesday featured Carlow entertainer Richie Kavanagh singing his popular ditty about a woman with a boyfriend called Richard, including the notorious line "she's got Dick on her mind all the time".

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Drivetime radio has never sounded so dodgy.

Today With Sean O'Rourke was having similar problems down in Co Laois during an interview with mimic Oliver Callan, who, in his guise as Enda Kenny, raised the issue of UK prime minister David Cameron's alleged encounter with a pig in his student days, as detailed in a new book.

"Careful now," Sean warned with a nervous laugh, but Callan understands the art of the double entendre too well to cross the line. 'Enda' declared that he'd never done anything similar but had "shifted a full Irish breakfast like no Irishman has done before".

There was one notable absentee at the Ploughing - The Ryan Tubridy Show, despite the fact that the series of programmes he presented along the Wild Atlantic Way for 2fm recently was reportedly one of the reasons Radio One bosses decided to bring Tubs back for the morning show. A week there would have been a perfect opportunity for Tubs to define his show, which remains a muddled affair.

In fact, far from being the new Gaybo, the veteran broadcaster that Tubridy most resembles these days is Marty Whelan. That may sound mad, but listen carefully. The inflection; the phrasing; the jocular "hail fellow, well met" tone; the use of expressions like "jiggery pokery"; the sudden random exclamation and/or elongation of words. It's pure Marty, almost parody Marty.

Tubridy discussed the pig tale on Monday too, but didn't sound comfortable, referring to it prissily at one point as "the porcine revelation".

Mary Wilson on Drivetime was blunter, describing it as "genital contact with a dead animal", which actually made it sound worse than it was.

Her guest, James Kirkup of the Daily Telegraph, was surely right to say it won't matter politically, because most voters already know Cameron was part of a rich, louche set at Oxford and have made up their minds what they think about it, but that personally it will be hard for Cameron to shrug off as "people will never forget" the bizarre image.

Which is a peculiarly modern and cruel sort of revenge really. Back on The Last Word, Matt Cooper got straight to the heart of the story: "Have we any proof to suggest that it's true?" The blunt answer: "No".

Cooper himself almost slipped up when wondering if the story might help new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because, for all his faults, "he never stuck his… er, he never got involved with a pig's head".

Phew, that was close.

Best euphemism of the week, though, came on The John Creedon Show where Japan and the USA were described as being "on opposite sides of that argument in 1941". That's certainly one way of describing it all right.

Sunday Independent

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