Ryan Tubridy has said a gut decision led to him calling time on his 14-year career as host of the Late Late Show.
And he also wished his successor the best of luck, “whoever she may be”, in a clear nod to some of the names that have been circulating as contenders to replace him – with Miriam O’Callaghan, Sarah McInerney and Claire Byrne among the broadcasters being tipped.
The announcement this week that he would leave the show at the end of May came as a shock to many but Tubridy said: “It feels right”, speaking on this week’s edition of RTÉ’s flagship chat show on St Patrick’s Day.
“The truth of it is that in life sometimes, you make decisions based on your gut and this was my gut. It was based on, ‘when you know, you know’,” he told viewers as he prepared to host a St Patrick’s Day special of the show.
It featured guests including Ireland women’s football manager Vera Pauw, An Irish Goodbye Oscar winners James Martin and Ross White, Liam Neeson, Patrick Duffy, and Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee. It opened with a barnstorming display of Irish dance and music in studio and around the globe.
“It feels right and I have been blown away by all the well wishes in the last few days; I’m very heartened and very grateful. I want to say thank you to everyone that has been in touch and it’s been a really privilege to be with you every Friday night and to the be the custodian of this great institution for the past 14 years,” Tubridy said of the timing of his departure in May.
“I met some of the most inspiring people and made some wonderful friends. I have to say a special mention to my friends from the Toy Show over the years because that is just one of the great nights and some of them are wonderful young men and women now and thank you to them,” he added.
Tubridy will continue presenting his radio show from Monday to Friday at 9am and also hinted that there was more to come from him on TV. He also gave a rather tongue-in-cheek hint as to who may be replacing him as host.
“To the Irish public at home, time after time, I have been especially bowled over by your generosity over the years, raising millions of euro for those who needed it and that’s something we will always be really proud of. I played a part in that but a small one and thank you,” he said.
“Thank you for staying with me and the show, and I want to wish my successor, whoever she may be… the best of luck. Obviously, I jest, but I will be supporting them. I am not gone yet, though. I still have more to do.
“I’ll still be on the radio every morning at 9am and I still have lots more I am going to do in TV land but until the end of May, it’s you and me.”