Sunday 24 February 2019

There's more to life than water and Greece

Miriam O'Callaghan
Miriam O'Callaghan

Eilis O'Hanlon

Ryan Tubridy has never been a comfortable fit on 2FM. The Ray D'Arcy Show still doesn't feel quite right in Derek Mooney's old mid-afternoon slot. The jury also remains out on Today With Sean O'Rourke; the listenership figures are solid, but the show still feels too much like an add-on to Morning Ireland.

It's a reminder, as RTE decides on who should take over from John Murray, of just how hard it can be to find the perfect replacement for a longstanding radio host.

Which makes it all the more noteworthy how effortlessly Today FM's Anton Savage Show has slipped into the space vacated by D'Arcy's much-hyped move to RTE Radio 1. So smooth has the transition been that it's easy to forget some mornings how recently the changeover happened; Savage sounds so wholly at ease, it's as if he has been doing it for years.

And he's still making the effort to look his best, as two guests separately commented this week. Both were in Dublin for the Vodafone Comedy Festival. First was upcoming London comedian Roisin Conaty, who seemed surprised on Monday to find Anton in a suit. The other was stand-up Nick Helm, who noted on Wednesday: "You're really well dressed. If I worked in radio, I'd show up in my pants".

Germaine Greer was the guest on this week's Sunday With Miriam. As always, the author of The Female Eunuch, published 45 years ago this autumn, was compelling company, in a conversation which ranged from why clever, powerful women still "enact submission" in the presence of men; through the horrors of traditional marriage ("I can't understand why gay people want to be married"); to the increasing desire of women to be "as hairless as newts".

She also had a fascinating exchange with Miriam O'Callaghan about male suicide, which she put down less to men's unhappiness than to their greater capacity for rage. "Women don't feel rage easily, they feel grief, and grief doesn't kill you, you can live your whole life with grief."

Newstalk's science show, Futureproof, was in its element as New Horizons - "the spacecraft with the worse name in history" - beamed back dramatic pictures from Pluto three billion miles away. Though it would have been nice had the show found a different guest to interview than Leo Enright, Irish radio's ubiquitous "Mr Outer Space". Enright is engaging and informative, but it does seem at times as if he's the only voice who's ever called upon to explain the mysteries of the universe to Irish listeners.

Morning Ireland, bar a single report, and Today With Sean O'Rourke didn't seem that interested in Pluto at all, which was a pity. There's more to life than Irish Water, Greece and banking inquiries.

Back on earth, a terrific edition of Sunday's Mooney Goes Wild asked whether we could, or should, reintroduce wolves into the wild in Ireland.

"Should" was easy. Sadly, "could" lets us down. It seems there isn't enough wilderness left, and farmers wouldn't stand for it. Spoilsports.

Sunday Independent

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