Saturday 1 October 2016

Lay off Ray D'Arcy - Mairead Ronan slams 'ridiculous' criticism of interview with Dean Strang

Eimear Rabbitt

Published 04/02/2016 | 07:18

Ray D'Arcy chats to Making a Murderer attorney Dean Strang
Ray D'Arcy chats to Making a Murderer attorney Dean Strang

Ray D’Arcy’s former radio sidekick Mairead Ronan has urged the public to lay off the broadcaster and his TV chat show.

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Mairead, who worked alongside Ray on his Today FM radio programme for eleven years, described the criticism of the 51-year-old was “very unfair” and “ridiculous”.

Mairead was speaking in relation to Ray’s handling of an interview with Making a Murderer attorney Dean Strang, which sparked a tirade of criticism on social media.

Speaking to the Herald, Mairead said: “I’ve watched Making a Murderer, and the interview, and I thought the slack he got for it was ridiculous, I really did.

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“It’s like he couldn’t please anyone doing that interview.

The interview, which featured on the Ray D’Arcy Show, was heavily criticised, with many describing it as “embarrassing” and an “absolute joke”.

Fans of the docu-series accused Ray of failing to get any new insight into the programme from one of the main characters.

However, Today FM producer Mairead said that criticism of the interview was blown out of proportion.

She pointed out that many of those tuning into the Saturday night show may not have seen the docu-series.

“It’s a ten-hour documentary that only a tiny proportion of people have seen. Not everyone has Netflix, so I thought it was very unfair,” she said.

“My sister watched the interview and she thought it was fine. She got something from it and she hasn’t watched one episode.”

Mairead was speaking at the launch of new low calorie bar Fibre One.

She and Ray worked together for more than a decade after she joined his Today FM Ray D’Arcy show as an intern in 2003.

She worked her way up to co-producer and presenter of the show and her on-air banter with Ray was credited with boosting the show’s popularity over the years.

In August 2014, Mairead announced that she was leaving the programme to work as a producer on the Ian Dempsey breakfast show.

A few months later, Ray announced he was leaving Today FM for RTE.

The broadcaster and his wife, producer Jenny Kelly, were among the guests at Mairead’s wedding to Louis Ronan last June.

Strang came to D’Arcy’s defence last week.

“His interview far exceeds in depth and thoughtfulness of almost all of the national US media outlets.

“His interview was more serious and lengthy than most of those in which I have participated here,” he said.

He added he was looking forward to returning to Ireland.

RTE also defended Ray – saying he had to take into account viewers who had never seen the Netflix series.

“At all times Ray was cognisant of the need to help Dean explain the case to those viewers who may not have been aware of the story behind Making A Murderer,” an RTE statement read. The Saturday night chat show has attracted a number of high profile guests including Pamela Anderson, Angie Bowie, singer Tulisa and Janice Dickinson - but he attracted much criticism for the chat he had with a Jack Nicholson look-a-like.

D’Arcy has received praise for his sensitive handling of interviews with Katie Egan and Niamh Ni Dhomhnaill.

Herald

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