Sunday 21 July 2019

From Pantigate to Pingate - The Saturday Night Show 10 most memorable moments

Brian Kennedy with Paul Martin on the Saturday Night Show
Brian Kennedy with Paul Martin on the Saturday Night Show
Peaches Geldof and Brendan O'Connor
Ruairi McSorley appearing on The Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor
Donal Walsh during his appearance on RTE's Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor. Picture: RTE
Rory O'Neill, aka Panti, appeared on ‘The Saturday Night Show’
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

As The Saturday Night Show gears up for its final show of its hugely successful five season run we take a look back at some of the most memorable moments, from the sheer daftness of Frostbit boy to the 'gates' (both Pin and Panti) to that gut-wrenchingly powerful interview with the late Donal Walsh.

Brian Kennedy storms off

Just a few weeks after their fraught appearance together on Celebrity Come Dine With Me, Brian Kennedy and showbiz reporter Paul Martin were invited to kiss and make up (presumably) on The Saturday Night Show.

If that was the plan, it went horrendously off course as Kennedy failed to get the audience on side and eventually stormed off, prompting Martin to declare it was "a classless act by a classless person".

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Brian Kennedy with Paul Martin on the Saturday Night Show


Twink gives out to Brendan and the people of Ireland

It was the end of a tough week for Twink after the dog-napping, and joyous return, of her beloved Teddy, who appeared on the sofa with her for the interview.  Not that Brendan asked too many questions.... 

On arrival, Twink was immediately unimpressed by the lacklustre welcome from the audience and went on to chastise the bad people of Ireland such as her dognappers, while praising the good like Linda Martin. 

Unfortunately, almost ten minutes later her time was up and when Brendan informed her she needed to wrap up and leave she was highly affronted, "Is this a joke?" she cried.


Noel Gallagher mimes, says he doesn't know who Kathryn Thomas is

Viewers were not impressed when they realised Noel Gallagher was lip-synching recently on the show. Brendan O'Connor later revealed he had buttered him up and begged him to sing live prior to the show but Noel refused.

“Isn’t it bizarre, all these young bands can come in who might have played to a crowd of two men and a dog and play live, but Noel Gallagher who has played all these places, like Pairc Ui Chaoimh...we begged him and he wouldn’t do it.” he told The Herald.

The High Flying Birds frontman caused a chuckle, however, when Brendan asked him if he'd hang around for a chat if he told him Kathryn Thomas was on next.  Noel replied, "I would say who on earth is that?".


Alex Reid proposes to Chantelle Houghton

Former Big Brother contestant Chantelle Houghton and MMA fighter Alex Reid (an ex of Katie Price's) took to the Saturday Night Sofa for 15 minutes of banter before Brendan O'Connor opened the door for a marriage proposal.

“Alex one last chance do you wanna ask her to marry you?" he said to Alex.  Alex didn't seem particularly willing initially stating that he hadn't got a ring.  However, he eventually got down on one knee and said, "I’m serious now - nobody tell anyone - will you marry me?”.  She said "yeah" and everyone felt all warm and gooey inside.

Several months later Reid returned to the show alone to talk about the breakdown of the relationship, ostensibly over Chantelle's unwillingness to accept his female alter ego, Roxanne.



Linda Martin singing ‘Get lucky’

It's former Eurovsion winner and panto queen Linda Martin tackling Pharrell's hit, 'Get Lucky'.  This one speaks for itself.

Frostbit boy

Derry schoolboy Ruairi McSorley, aka 'Frostbit boy' attended the show after he went viral for an interview he did with UTV Ireland in which uttered the immortal line, "You wouldn't be long getting frostbit".

Brendan appeared to have no idea what he was saying, but he had the audience in stitches. 

Questioned about his sudden fame, he said, "If it gets any bigger honest to God there'll be grand cailins getting me tattooed on their arse.  There'll be some sort of thoins for me to pog then!"

As for any female attention he may be garnering since his rise, he said, "It'd be more the Biddy marie and Mary Annie market.  I'll be able to get me tea in three houses a night!"






It's the interview that sparked something of a revolution.  Rory O'Neill appeared on The Saturday Night Show in January 2014 and talked about public figures who oppose gay marriage, mentioning specific newspaper columnists.

Those columnists then threatened Rory and RTE with legal action.  The interview was removed from the RTE player, a cash payout was made to the columnists by RTE and Brendan O'Connor apologised to anyone who was offended.

The debate about whether or not people who oppose gay marriage are homophobic or not gained momentum and the issue was debated in the Irish and European parliaments.

Panti then gave that lengedary speech at The Abbey Theatre (see below) which went viral.  The resulting Broadcasting Amendment bill 2014 was defeated but the momentum of the debate continued. 

One year later Ireland became the first country to introduce gay marriage as a direct result of a vote by the people.



In the run up to the Marriage Equality Referendum, RTE was most concerned about being impartial. 

So, when Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin wore his 'yes' pin on The Saturday Night Show, host Brendan O'Connor asked him to remove it.  It became #pingate.

O'Connor interrupted the interview when he noticed the pin on O'Riordan's lapel.

He asked the Labour Minister, “Can you take off that pin? The pin you’re wearing on your collar.” to which Ó Ríordáin replied “It’s a Yes pin.” as he removed it.

O'Connor then said, “You just made it worse,” and used the word 'no' to "balance" out the offending 'yes'.

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Peaches Geldof

The late Peaches Geldof appeared on The Saturday Night Show three times.  Her final appearance was in October 2013, just five months before her untimely death in April 2014.  In this last interview she was warm and witty and clearly perfectly relaxed with O'Connor.


Donal Walsh

Whilst The Late Late Show has traditionally been the RTE show of choice to tackle the big issues, O'Connor occasionally conducted revealing, affecting, and powerful interviews, and none more so than his interview with the late Donal Walsh.

Donal, from Blennerville, Co Kerry, was just 16 when he appeared on the show after posting a letter in which he revealed his personal battle with terminal illness and his quest to end the suicide epidemic plaguing the country.

Articulate, intelligent, and charming, Donal won the hearts of viewers across the country and his interview is the one which will be remembered long after memories of The Saturday Night Show have faded.

Donal sadly passed away just a month later at the family home in Kerry.


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