'I think Anna is going to need therapy working with me' - Ivan Yates
Presenter shares secret to a happy marriage as he hits 30 years with long-suffering wife
Ivan Yates was once a good boy, loyal Fine Gael party man, stoic government minister and later, an affable frontman for a burgeoning bookmaking empire.
But going wallop for millions and the purgatory of bankruptcy in Wales, where drink provided a little too much solace, changed him.
Sometimes irascible, often trenchant in his criticism, it's as if the hard times were the furnace which forged the new persona as a hard-hitting current affairs broadcaster.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Ivan believes the strength of his wife was vital during the hard times. The couple have had their ups and downs, as he revealed in his autobiography, but will celebrate 30 years of marriage this year.
The secret? "Shut up and do what you are told," he says.
"She dresses me, she feeds me; I'm just totally dependent and helpless without her," he says.
And his final tip into relationship longevity is that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
"She's a busy primary school teacher . . . so we don't meet. I'm gone in the morning and she comes in at night-time and is gone to bed. That is the real secret."
Though his quips about Deirdre keep Newstalk listeners entertained, he ensures they are well-timed: "I mostly joke about her after 8.45am, when she's gone teaching. She does [get annoyed]. People give out to her about me but she knows that's part of my persona."
The only time he ventures into dangerous territory is when he "gives out about the mother-in-law."
Indeed, he has asked producers on the new show for a bed on the set instead of a couch - to aid his chronically bad back.
Anna Daly, who will co-host a new TV3 show, Sunday AM, with Yates, is sure to have her work cut out for her.
She says: "I am not much of a girlie girl, my husband is the ultimate pi*s taker. I have a lot of bloke friends and I am well able to roll with the punches."
The show will feature robust discussions in news and current affairs, a look at the Sunday papers and some lighter entertainment, which will see their guests help them out in the kitchen. It will kick off in time for the election season in late August.
It's a new string to his bow for Yates that will see him branch out from his Newstalk Breakfast show with Chris Donoghue, where listenership figures tripled since starting.
So how does he think Newstalk's other big beast, Pat Kenny, is getting on in UTV?
"I am not a TV expert . . . obviously we will do our best to create a new audience. So I think it would be a bit foolish of me to be tuppence ha'penny looking down on tuppence before I start."
He adds: "I am used to working for 'challenger' brands. I don't work for RTE so I am not for kicking people when they are down if you know what I mean?"
His new schedule which means adding a weekend TV show to the workload of his daily radio show, will be a challenge, But he's hoping Anna will take most of the slack. "The way I work it is, I am very good at delegating, so Anna will do all the background stuff, all the prepping, all the VTs, all the segues, and I'll just smile and look good," he adds with tongue only slightly in cheek.
"I think Anna is going to need therapy after working with me. It's a tough job," he says.
His back pain, which resulted in him having two metal rods inserted to help with the pain relief, is going to present another challenge on set:
"Obviously I just cannot sit for three hours so we will have to work out something."
Though generally light hearted, Ivan has been through the mill, having gone from a financial worth of €50m to bankrupt. So how much of this new inroad into world of TV is about money?
"Oh no absolutely, I am greedy and grasping and bankrupt so if it wasn't for the money I would find it very difficult to get up on a Sunday morning."
"They are not paying me enough by the way," he adds.
Still, he has learned some essential truths over the dark years.
"Actually money doesn't make you happy, relationships will make you happy. Going to bed with so much money or so much debt? No, your quality of life is the craic you have with people,"
Has his boom to bust battle changed him then?
"Oh no," he says, "I am still a miserable, self-opinionated utterly, pretentious b*****d. All of those things remain utterly unchanged."