Lorraine lays it all on the line with her TV3 expose
Ex-showbiz presenter starts to feel backlash over book on channel
"I think that was my guardian angel from up above saving me," gasped a horrified Lorraine Keane.
She had just heard a long list of things that staff at her former employer TV3 had to say about her since the first teasers of her new book had been splashed across the newsstands. And then the phone line went dead.
After calling back, the showbiz queen put the interrupted call down to divine intervention from heavenly beings and declined to comment further.
It's been a long week for the former Xposé host, and if the mood of her former employers at TV3 is anything to go by, it isn't going to get a whole lot better.
Eighteen months after her exit from the station she has finally released her behind- the-scenes book on life as a showbiz correspondent and it seems -- apart from an aloof Daniel O Donnell and Sinead O Connor -- her former bosses have got the brunt of it.
You'd have to wonder why the former TV3 girl would send a shiney invite for her book launch to people such as TV3 CEO David McRedmond and Head of News Andrew Hanlon -- the man at the centre of her spectacular departure from the station.
But last week, invitations began arriving on the desks of the very people who are said to be at the receiving end of the cutting remarks in her book. And they are none too impressed.
"The invites were sent out to members of senior management who were in the eye of the storm as Lorraine left the station -- even Andrew Hanlon got a look in," said a TV3 insider. "But the mood in here is prickly this morning, since everyone has heard what she said about being pushed around and reduced to tears while working at TV3. It's incredible that she would be so brazen as to invite her former bosses."
The one-time presenter claims she was pushed around at the station and that she was subjected to temper tantrums. She also describes how she was "shouted at and brought to tears" while at TV3.
"I think you can safely say she won't be getting too many RSVPs from here," said the TV3 insider. "No one is going to be prevented from going, so if they snub it, it will be of their own free will. People think she's got some nerve. I don't know if she's looking for more headlines or what. But to think that she would invite us along to pop champagne over it -- is she mad?"
It hasn't taken long for TV3 to bite back, and sources at the station have pulled no punches in their defence.
"Let's get one thing straight. No one pushes Lorraine Keane around," is the steely reply from an impeccably-placed source at TV3. "She is no shrinking violet. And I've never seen her in tears; I've never seen her pushed around. It's all very general. She doesn't name any names. You have to wonder why? It's a load of nonsense."
Assertions from TV3 staff about her work ethic have also come thick and fast.
"She is an exceptionally challenging person to manage," said another well-placed source at the station.
"But this thing that TV3 are slave drivers is a load of nonsense."
Speaking about the final heated exchange between Ms Keane and her boss Andrew Hanlon, the source explained: "There was a change in the amount of time the Xposé team could have in the studio because it needed to be freed up for Midday or The Morning Show. She stormed into Andrew Hanlon's office and she said, 'Change it, or else'. And she threatened to leave if she didn't get her way. She didn't think Andrew would call her bluff and he did. He asked for her resignation in writing the next day and that was it."
In response to her claims that "Xposé had me working six days a week" and "usually four evenings a week, too", sources at the station have hit back with the cutting reply: "She talks about long days? She spent the bulk of them in the make-up department getting her hair done."
Meanwhile, as Lorraine prepares to unveil her book at new club The Pink at La Stampa, on Dublin's Dawson Street this Wednesday, friends say she is nervous about the reaction she'll provoke, with one saying: "It feels like she's put everything on the line. You'll be hard-pressed to find any other high-profile star on the showbiz circuit who has given a warts and all account of what really goes on behind the scenes. It can be such a fake world and everyone is terrified of burning bridges because Dublin is such a small place and you don't want to sacrifice any future opportunities. It's a city that walks on eggshells. If you have to hand anything to Lorraine, it's a big 'fair dues' that she has the balls to bring out a book like this. She's a lot tougher than you think."
For now, Lorraine is taking it all in her stride.
"Thanks for the call, I know you're just doing your job," comes the chirpy response as she ends our conversation.