Patrick Kielty’s commute will be tricky for Late Late but is ‘doable’, Pat Kenny says

​’When Gay started the Late Late in 1962, he was commuting from Granada in Manchester,’ the Newstalk broadcaster observed. Above, Patrick Kielty. Photo: BBC NI

Laura Lynott

Former Late Late Show stalwart Pat Kenny says commuting from England to RTÉ, won’t be “as good” as living in Ireland full-time for new host Patrick Kielty, but added “it’s doable”.

Kielty (52) plans to travel from his London base, where he lives with his presenter wife, Cat Deeley and their two children, to Dublin each week to film the Late Late.

And Kenny, who was the face of the Late Late from 1999 to 2009, said while commuting may have challenges, these will not impact the role.

“There’s a lot of planning in the Late Late but you can do things remotely, as the pandemic showed us,” he told the Irish Independent.

“It won’t be as good as being in Ireland for the whole week, but it’s definitely doable.”

Kenny, who hosts the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, pointed to the legendary host of the Late Late, Gay Byrne, as an example of mastering commuting and juggling the chat show with other work.

“When Gay started the Late Latein 1962, he was commuting from Granada in Manchester,” Kenny (75) said.

“The technology and communications were there, but Gay was very successful. On one occasion, he couldn’t make it due to fog, which prevented a plane taking off.

“Someone had to take over presenting. But how often would planes be cancelled due to fog now?

“What was osmosis for Ryan, will not be for Patrick and he has to keep fully briefed. But that will be fine, I am sure.”

It is certain that Kenny’s seal of approval and support for Kielty’s decision, as a previous and respected host, will no doubt help to quieten any concerns.

Kenny also had insights on the potential shape of the talk show under Kielty’s tenure. And it is clear, he feels there could be an almost American chat show modernisation approach introduced.

Patrick Kielty in Profile

“I suspect Patrick will do a stand-up at the start of the show each week,” he said.

“And that stand-up will have to be topical and researchers will have to be kept in the loop.

“But Patrick has played many times to live audiences, including to diverse audiences of Catholics and Protestants. If he can walk that walk, he can definitely manage theLate Late.

“He has had lots of live TV experience too.”

One RTÉ source told the Sunday Independent:“People have wondered how tuned-in he can really be to the Irish conversation, if he is not here all the time.”

Tubridy, the source added, had been “having conversations every day with the people who work in the dry cleaners, with the butcher, the people in the supermarket. He was very connected with what was going on and how people were feeling”.