Monday 11 December 2017

'Stop haranguing me!' - 6 memorable moments from Tonight with Vincent Browne

Vincent Browne
Vincent Browne
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

In the decade since Tonight with Vincent Browne has aired on TV it has garnered a reputation as one of the most volatile and unpredictable live TV shows in the history of Irish TV.

At the helm is veteran broadcaster Vincent Browne who, at the age of 73, looks to be finally stepping down at the end of this month.  Here are just six of the many, many memorable moments from the current affairs programme.

Jack O’Connor’s dramatic walk off

Two years ago, Siptu general secretary Jack O’Connor removed his microphone before walking off set during a live broadcast of the show.

They had been discussing unions when MrO’Connor discovered that TV3 bosses didn’t recognise their employees rights to collective bargaining.

“Once I asked Vincent Brown the question of whether TV3 respect their employees’ rights in collective bargaining, and he replied by saying he didn't’ think so, I realised then that it was impossible for me as a trade union leader to remain on the programme, because to do so would be to legitimatise it,” Mr O’Connor told at the time.

However, despite their argy bargy, O’Connor said that bore “no ill will” towards Browne.

“He has been a very critical voice in Ireland, and a very progressive journalist.  I don’t bear any ill towards him personally at all, anything but,” he added.


The moment he accidentally dropped the f-bomb

He was left red-faced last year when he accidentally dropped the f-bomb live on air.  During a conversation on Irish Water the then 71-year-old presenter momentarily lost the run of himself. 

Speaking about Phil Hogan, he said, "And the fella who made the real cock up is given promotion to the European commisssion. It's f***ing ama... sorry, it's amazing."

Clearly embarrassed he went on to add, "I'm sorry, I've been off for a few weeks so..." as the studio erupted into nervous laughter.

Viewers were quick to join in with one tweeting, "@vincentbrowne gotta love it, BEST DAY EVER while another wrote, "I've been off for a few weeks" Best excuse for saying 'fuck' on television *ever* #vinb".


Joan Burton's ''stop haranguing me" meltdown

It was 2011 and the Labour Party finance spokeswoman clashed with Browne throughout the entire show, at one point claiming he was "haranguing" her while he claimed she was "haranguing" fellow guest Socialist Party MEP Joe Higgins.  Let's just say "haranguing" was mentioned quite a few times.

Burton later accused him of being a "sexist bully" something about which Browne said he was "surprised".  She didn't comment further except to say, "I'm me. Vincent is Vincent -- he's always got a particular style."


That face off with Fionnan Sheahan

Few people manage to get the better of Browne on his own show, but Irish Independent Editor Fionnan Sheahan was not about to take his attitude lying down when he went on the show to discuss the Anglo Tapes revelations in the newspaper.

When Browne began by questioning how long the newspaper had the tapes before publishing the story, Fionnan was taken aback and tackled Browne on his line of questioning.

"Vincent, you spend so much time showing your bias towards Independent Newspapers, it's getting sickening at this point," he said.

"Can you not just acknowledge it's a good story and move on?  Is that too much for you?  Is it?"

Vincent asked if he had a problem and Fionnan replied, "I do, when you bring a colleague of mine on here a couple of weeks ago and you just kick him around for your own fun."

Sheahan was referring to Fiach Kelly's appearance on the show in which he was subjected to a tirade by the presenter.

The row continued off air.  On a later show Browne declared, "By the way we haven't had the Irish Independent for a while, since Fionnan Sheahan did his stunt on the programme."


His face when a man fell at his feet live on air

He couldn’t help but chuckle when somebody faceplanted behind him as he attempted to give his intro to the show, which was being broadcast from the Headfort Arms Hotel in Kells.

The man stumbled and fell, landing at the presenter's feet, prompting Vincent to look down in surprise and exclaim, "Somebody's just fallen down beside me" much to the delight of audience and guests alike.


That time irony was lost on him

As noted by our columnist Ian O’Doherty in June 2015, something a little strange happened during the show with a panel of Laois/Offaly TDs Charlie Flanagan, Sean Fleming and Brian Stanley.

Flanagan was heckled by the audience while he was talking and Browne, who has been known to raise his voice on occasion himself, barked, "We respect what other people say and we don't shout other people down. I think that's only fair...If some of you do shout someone down, then you've broken your word."

The irony.

Read more: 'At his best he's irreplaceable' - Viewers shocked by reports Vincent Browne will 'sign off for last time'

'As comically exasperated as ever with his panel!' - Vincent Browne viewers celebrate his long-awaited return to our screens

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