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'A bit of a spoofer but the funniest man I've ever met' - Dave Fanning remembers Gerry Ryan

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Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning  at the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin Chernobyl Children's lunch in 2007.

Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning at the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin Chernobyl Children's lunch in 2007.

Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning at the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin Chernobyl Children's lunch in 2007.

RTE's Dave Fanning remembers his pal Gerry Ryan as a "bit of a spoofer" but the pair were like rock royalty to the nation's music lovers during the 1980s.

They struck up a firm friendship in the early days of 2fm, a golden time for pop music, and Dave reckons that era was one of Gerry's favourite times.

"He said so himself, his best years were from 1982 to 1988. I was on 2fm from 8-10am and he was on 10-12 on the radio.

"And we did a lot of things, we went to a lot of places. We did a lot of Beats on the Street, Larks in the Parks.

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Three amigos: Mark Cagney, Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning photographed in RTÉ in 1985 as Radio 2 (now 2fm) was beginning to grow its audience share up to its heyday in the late 1980s and 1990s. Photo: RTÉ Stills Library

Three amigos: Mark Cagney, Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning photographed in RTÉ in 1985 as Radio 2 (now 2fm) was beginning to grow its audience share up to its heyday in the late 1980s and 1990s. Photo: RTÉ Stills Library

Three amigos: Mark Cagney, Gerry Ryan and Dave Fanning photographed in RTÉ in 1985 as Radio 2 (now 2fm) was beginning to grow its audience share up to its heyday in the late 1980s and 1990s. Photo: RTÉ Stills Library

"That was the time that there was no other national radio station so even if you were a d***head on the radio, you were famous. All you had to do was not be completely stupid and we weren't completely stupid. So we got away with it. It was right time, right place.

"But the funny thing was, Gerry was brilliant because even in later years, when there were loads of stations and loads of pop music, Gerry just shone. He was different, he was just brilliant.

"He was the exact same on-air as he was off and he was able to do one very serious item here and a very trivial item in the space of five minutes."

Gerry was also a big joker and adored talking to members of the public, who contacted him in their droves on his quirky morning show.

"He was a bit of a spoofer, always going on about his law degree in Trinity. I think he might have bought it or something! But who cares because he was extremely intelligent, very sharp, very on the button," says Dave (inset with Gerry).

"He had that one thing, which was an amazing sense of humour. He never once told a joke in his life but was the funniest man I've ever met."

Gerry's music knowledge was not up to speed but Dave said that "nobody cared".

"He hadn't a clue! He used to do the pop quiz on telly. I knew my music and Gerry didn't but who cared? It was an entertainment programme first.

"And he'd sometimes give the answer away to the next question, he'd forgotten what he's been told to say.

"He liked certain things. We went to Pink Floyd, myself and Gerry, in Earls Court (in 2005) and we were having such a good time, we ended up staying for a second night.

"We didn't really give a hoot what he was playing on the radio; it was just about having fun. And he did like people, he was very good with people, he was a bit mad so that kind of helped."

Asked what Gerry would have made of the country in lockdown, Dave said he would be there making "home-made whiskey", not baking sour-dough bread.

"He would certainly be on the radio spoofing about what he was doing!"

Herald