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'Family was too important for me to follow Wogan to BBC' - Ryan Tubridy

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RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy  Photo: Andres Poveda

RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy Photo: Andres Poveda

RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy Photo: Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy has said he once considered leaving RTE to pursue a career in England.

He received rave reviews at the time for filling in for Graham Norton and Terry Wogan on BBC radio, and flirted with the idea of a permanent move.

However, family commitments and his passion for Ireland persuaded him to stay.

As he announced taking The Late Late Show on the road to Limerick for the first time, he said he is happy to stay at RTE.

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Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

Ryan Tubridy. Photo: Andres Poveda

"I think that ship has sailed, to be honest," he said.

"I had a look at it and I put my toe in the water and the vibes were very positive, but I just didn't want to be away from my family for any meaningful length of time.

"I just couldn't commute. They are older now and so it's a different story, but so am I and that has changed as well.

"The other thing that has changed is that I don't recall being as happy in my work position in RTE as I do now.

"I think when you're really happy you don't look around and I don't need to be in the UK.

"The Late Late Show figures have gone up and the radio show listenership has never been higher, so I'm in a very positive place at work.

"We shouldn't be growing as a TV show. With all these digital threats around us and Netflix, we shouldn't be growing, but we're bucking the trend."

In the weekend leading up to St Patrick's Day, The Late Late Show will celebrate Irishness and community spirit live from the University Concert Hall on Friday, March 13, on RTE One.

Tubridy also hopes the broadcast will showcase the island as a staycation destination for the Irish.

"Part of this is that we want to encourage people to spend time at home," he said.

"And, yes, when we do the show in Limerick you'll have a thousand people and they'll need somewhere to stay and they'll be eating there.

"We'll be there with the radio team from Thursday so we'll have two days of advanced teams and crew so it will be good for the city and county.

"Ultimately, it's about the best of Irish, so it will be a national programme coming from Limerick, saying that we're not so bad ourselves."

An example of The Late Late Show's culture of showcasing Irish stories for an Irish audience was the recent interview with Munster rugby player Billy Holland and his wife Lanlih.

They shared the story of their life with little Emmeline, who was born with severe medical problems that gave them only a very short time together.

Since appearing on the show, more than €700,000 has been raised for Crumlin Children's Hospital and the CUH Children's Ward.

"They came on and told their story and people just completely took them into their hearts," said Tubridy.

"I was chatting to them after the show in the green room.

"They had wanted to raise €50,000 and we were in the green room watching the tally of donations coming in and it was hitting €150,000 within half-an-hour of talking to them.

"Between the jigs and reels they made it up to €700,000 and much of that was from Late Late Show audiences. It's breathtaking and heartening and what we're all about this year on The Late Late."

The Late Late Show Live In Limerick airs on RTE One on Friday, March 13, at 9.35pm

Herald