Friday 15 November 2019

Punters 'disappointed and angry' at Late Late Show in London 'shambles'

TALK THE TALK: Graham Norton with Ryan Tubridy in London. Photo: Andres Poveda
TALK THE TALK: Graham Norton with Ryan Tubridy in London. Photo: Andres Poveda
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

"Can't talk, gotta go" and "I'm about to board a flight" were the scant words Ryan Tubridy offered when asked if he wanted to say anything to the hundreds of guests - including many elderly - who were locked out of his show in London on Friday night.

More than 500 people arrived and queued at the Westminster venue for a London special of The Late Late Show, only to be told they could not get in as the event had been oversubscribed.

Among them was ITV This Morning producer Padraig Prendergast, who described the organisation of the event as "a shambles".

"I had organised my flight home to Kerry but decided to stay on an extra night to see the show," he said.

"I should be going home feeling elated but instead I'm just so disappointed and angry with how RTE dealt with the situation on the ground. There was no apology.

"There were elderly people in the queue, there were pregnant women, people had gotten dressed up for it and then started queueing at around 4pm [five and a half hours ahead of show time]. And now I hear RTE are putting it back on [the UK company] Applause Store.

"Applause Store is a very established company - it manages tickets for all the big shows such as Britain's Got Talent and The X-Factor. So I don't know with whom the fault lies. I think RTE need to come out and say they are sorry for what happened and say they will sort people out in another way in the future.

"The fact is, there was no communication on the ground. Also, an event like this will always be oversubscribed for no shows on the night but on this occasion it seemed to be heavily oversubscribed. They sold it as 1,200 fans got tickets but this figure included the RTE guest list. It begs the question: how many fans actually got in with their Applause Store tickets?"

This weekend, an RTE spokesperson said tickets had been allocated but that was on a first come, first served basis.

She said many people may have assumed, given the tickets specified a dress code and arrival time, that they would gain entry to the eagerly anticipated show.

The RTE spokesperson said: "Audience tickets for The Late Late Show in London were allocated and managed by UK-based company Applause Store.

"Applause Store are ticket specialists for UK TV audiences. Tickets were allocated to applicants stating that it was not a guarantee of entry but seats would be allocated on the night on a first come, first served basis. This is standard in UK TV audience management. However, such was the demand for this one-off show that more people were left disappointed than expected."

Applause Store audience manager Mathew First said: 'We have to oversubscribe our tickets to cover any no-shows as all of them are free of charge and sadly not everyone uses them.

"We have, however, experienced a higher than normal turn-up rate... regrettably we could not accommodate everyone."

Sunday Independent

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