'I'm fed up at the kowtowing to the British message' - Ryan Tubridy on challenging Brexit narrative
Presenter gearing up for return of The Late Late Show on September 6, just weeks head of Brexit deadline
Ryan Tubridy says The Late Late Show has 'never been more relevant' than now in the face of Brexit and what is happening in Ireland and the world.
The Friday night chat show returns for a new season on September 6 with Tubridy embarking on his 11th year at the helm.
With the Brexit deadline looming just a few weeks after the season begins, it will weigh heavily on the country, and Tubridy feels the Late Late is perfectly placed to reflect, celebrate, and promote, Ireland at this juncture.
"If you look at what's happening with Brexit, if you look at who's leading the country next door, look at them falling apart at the seams, and we're leading by example," he says.
"We've had those extraordinary referendum results in recent times. We have arguably a progressive young Prime Minister, Taoiseach obviously.
"We are a country in great shape at the moment but we need to protect ourselves and we need to prmote ourselves and we need to be proud of ourselves.
"And that's what I want to bring to the Late Late Show this season; a real sense of self, a sense of country, a sense of nation, a sense of who we are week in, week out."
Speaking specifically about Brexit and the current narrative, he added, "I'm kind of fed up at the kind of kowtowing to the British message. You are the past in terms of things like empire and bossing people around.
"We are in a European scenario at the moment and we should be protecting the backstop - that's another thing and it's not my job to talk about the politics - but as somebody hopefuly reflecting what is Ireland, and what Ireland is thinking, we're going to be all over it.
"We're going to be very proud to be Irish this season."
In October last year, The Late Late Show London special, which was the first episode in 36 years to be broadcast from the UK, proved to be one of the most-watched episodes of the year.
More than half of the people watching television in Ireland on the night tuned in to see the live broadcast from Central Hall, Westminster, drawing a hugely impressive average audience of 610,000.
Despite its success, however, the show will not be travelling to London this year, with Tubridy stating he hopes instead to broadcast from areas outside of Dublin in Ireland including Cork, Galway, and Donegal.
While former Late Late Show host Pat Kenny had ten years at the helm, Gay Byrne hosted the show for 37 years. Tubridy does not think he will reach Gay's milestone, but says he's still "hungry" and "passionate" about the show.
This year, he says, "feels like a reboot". The format has remained unchanged in its 57 years but producers are eager to build on their growing 15-30 audience as well as their core audience going forward.
"I don't feel it's a root and branch chance of scene but there's something in the air," says Tubridy. "There's a bit of change at the top of the show production wise and the team has evolved a bit and we're into a new sense of purpose with the show."