Entertainment Television

Monday 10 December 2018

'We're a bit top heavy with our male hosts' - Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh in plea for gender balance on RTE

RTE's Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh
RTE's Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh
Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh in 2015
Sean O'Grady

Sean O'Grady

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh has called for RTE to put more women on screen by the time the station's autumn schedule rolls around.

The presenter, who has worked for the national broadcaster since the 1990s, said she wants to see more female presenters on TV by the end of the year.

"We're a bit top-heavy with our male hosts, so hopefully there's a nice gender balance in our autumn schedule," she said.

"We have Ray D'Arcy, Ryan Tubridy, Brendan O'Connor and Tommy Tiernan now, that's four.

"They used to say women love looking at male hosts on the television. I don't necessarily love it. I rate how good a presenter they are, but that's not true. I don't believe that's true."

Speaking of fellow RTE star Miriam O'Callaghan, who announced she would be taking the summer off from her chat show, Saturday Night With Miriam, Blathnaid reckons there will be plenty gunning for the gig.

Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh in 2015
Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh in 2015

"I'm not the only woman who would have her eye on that," she told the Herald.

"Miriam taking the summer off, that's fair enough. How many has she done? What she does on Prime Time is a massive machine."

However, Blathnaid isn't sure if chat shows are necessarily the best format for the type of work she would like to do.

"There are many other platforms that are effective besides chat shows, because sometimes you're just skimming a subject," she said.

Blathnaid recently presented a one-off documentary called Lig Liom, which examined her relationship with the Irish language and how isolating she finds it not being able to speak it as much as she would like.

"I don't think anyone is going to understand that unless English is their second language," she said.

"Irish people who speak English don't get that. I find they sometimes have more empathy with people who speak German or French.

"Irish speakers have to be fluent in both because we have no choice. It's very lonely to not speak in your own language.

"It's a very lonely place to be - you feel a huge disconnection with the rest of the Irish people."


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