IN his most honest interview to date, Ryan Tubridy has spoken out about the torrent of criticism he is facing.
The Late Late Show host opened up about his self-doubts, the affect the naysayers have had on his confidence and how he is receiving constant support from top radio DJ Chris Evans. He also spoke of how his family is dealing with his public lashing, saying: "My mam says she feels like a boxer's mother every time she opens the papers. It's like seeing her son go into the ring."
The 37-year-old spoke candidly about the wave of derision since the latest JNLR figures showed he had lost a third of his listeners since taking over from his close friend and late colleague Gerry Ryan.
"I don't enjoy it and it's not pretty. It hasn't gotten to me yet but if it goes on and on? Well then, that's another day," he said.
"Of course I have self- doubts when there is a lot of noise and grunting about my performance.
"And of course you think on occasion 'am I that bad?' Yes, I have those moments. Do I have self-confidence problems? Yes I do. It's a very human trait and I am as frail as everyone else."
But he added: "My No 1 loathsome thing is self-pity. And people don't have great patience for people like me who have a good life and a good job and so on. They think the hell with that; it's just a chat show. And they're right. When it's going well you enjoy it. But you have to take the hits too."
The RTE star also spoke candidly about his family's take on the recent backlash. Does his mum ever show her upset? "I presume she gets upset about it but never in front of me because she's my mam and she doesn't want to upset me."
Asked who he has turned to for advice, he said: "My brothers and my sisters and my family. We all sit down and have three pints of Guinness and thrash it out. We all get half-an-hour each to talk about our problems and then we get back to politics."
But he also revealed Chris Evans has been incredibly supportive over the last few months.
"He has been sending me nice texts and has been giving me encouragement and lifting my spirits. I've had plenty of low moments throughout my life but once you put your suit on and that red light comes on any sense of having any difficulties has to disappear and you have to get your game face on.
"Between the radio figures in Ireland and in the UK it was like getting a slap in the face followed by a big hug. It was a nice cushion for the big blows in a difficult news week."
He has been signed to present a BBC slot again from Tuesday December 27 to Friday December 30. It is also seen as the strongest indication yet the BBC will offer him a full-time role.
"I'll be filling in for Ken Bruce who has over seven million listeners -- so it's a different ballgame over there."
Speaking about the people who have publicly supported him in the week that was, and other celebrities who have taken a shot at him, he said:
"Someone turned around to me yesterday and said did you see Vincent Browne the other night? He defended you on his show. And I was completely taken aback that a journalist was nice about me in public," he laughed. "It's really unusual these days and it goes against the grain."
But commenting on presenter Ray D'Arcy -- who agreed with an interviewer last week that The Late Late Show "needs a kick up the arse" -- he said: "I'm not going to get into a slagging match. Ray D'Arcy also said very nice things about me recently and unless you are presenting the Late Late you don't really know what it's like. It's a strange beast.
"I texted Ray yesterday to say well done on his figures and to thank him for the other nice comments he said about me too. But I'm not going to get into a slagging match. I wasn't brought up like that."
Meanwhile, Today FM chief Willie O'Reilly has thrown cold water on speculation that Ray D'Arcy is to jump ship to RTE.
And though he himself is to rejoin RTE in January, O'Reilly confirmed that D'Arcy is not currently in talks with Montrose.
"My candid prediction is that Ray will continue where he is.
"He'd be mad not to stay, when it's here that he built up his loyal following. He has become the top presenter of his generation for the under-45s and he has such a good team around him.
"When I left RTE everyone said Gerry Ryan would follow -- but it never happened. Ray didn't know I was going to resign and I think when he weighs everything up and things settle down in a week or two he'll know the right thing to do is to stay on. That's not to say he's not wallowing in the enjoyment of the speculation."
Meanwhile 2fm, in association with the St Vincent de Paul, is running a toy appeal to ensure no child is left without a toy this Christmas. You can buy a toy for between €2 and €100 and drop it into any local Supervalu store.