Wednesday 13 November 2019

Pat Kenny: the highs and lows of his RTE career

Pat Kenny
Pat Kenny

PAT Kenny has been broadcasting for RTE since the mid 1970s.

He began with a part time continuity announcer job while he was still working as an engineering lecturer at Bolton Street College of Technology.

Since then he has been a constant presence in Irish lives, thanks to his long-running RTE Radio One show, his tenure on the Late Late Show, Saturday night chatshow Kenny Live, hosting Eurovision alongside Michelle Rocca in 1988, his roles on a variety of different current affairs series and so on.

Not only that, but many viewers will feel they know Pat Kenny – he has graced countless covers of the RTE Guide through the years.

He is married to wife Cathy and is father to two teenage girls.

There is no doubt that listeners and viewers alike will wish Pat (65) all the best in his new role in Newstalk.

Here, we take a look at the most highs and lows of the broadcaster’s career so far:

*Host of Today Tonight – Ireland’s biggest current affair TV show during the 1980s.

*His career took an unexpected turn in 1988 when Pat joined Michelle Rocca to host the Eurovision Song Contest at the RDS. The winner of that year’s competition was Celine Dion who was performing for Switzerland.

*He fronted his own Saturday night chat show late in 1988 called Kenny Live which came to an end in 1999.

*Kenny took over from Gay Byrne to host the Late Late Show in 1999.

* Ten years later he announced he was leaving in 2009. Ryan Tubridy was subsequently named as his successor.

* In September 2009, Kenny began presenting The Frontline each Monday night on RTÉ One.

*Earlier this year, Kenny was named as one of three anchors for the newly-revamped Primetime. Miriam O’Callaghan and Claire Byrne are his co-anchors

*Pat has been presenting Today With Pat Kenny since the 1970s.

*Dawn French gag - In 1997 whilst hosting a fashion show, he tells comedian Dawn French: "Dawn, most models say they don't get out of bed for less than £10,000. I'm sure some people would pay that for you to stay in bed."

*Brigitte Nielson’s bizarre interview – in 2005 during a bizarre interview with model Brigitte Nielson, Kenny exchanged his sensible suit shoes with her thigh-high black boots.

*Confronted live on air - In November 2006, Paul Stokes, an intruder on the set of The Late Late Show, confronted Kenny live on air calling the show host and his predecessor Gay Byrne "insufferable ars*holes". Eight days later Stokes rammed his car into the entrance of RTÉ's television centre and was subsequently charged with harassment after daubing walls near Kenny's home with threatening messages. Mr Stokes has since passed away.

*Trophy House - During an interview with SIPTU general president Jack O’Connor on The Frontline in 2009, Kenny became incensed when O’Connor suggested extra tax should be applied to “trophy houses”.

When asked to define the term "trophy house", O'Connor replied: "A house like yours, probably", to which Kenny replied, "I built my house in 1988. How is it a 'trophy house'? I don't want this crap coming at me!" O'Connor apologised.

*Gerry Ryan death – Pat Kenny was left shocked and devastated at the sudden death of his friend and colleague Gerry Ryan in April 2010. He declared he had known nothing about Ryan’s cocaine use and would have encouraged him to seek help if he had. He made a reappearance on the Late Late Show, hosted by Ryan Tubridy with Gay Byrne and Dave Fanning to pay tribute to his late friend.

*Michael Noonan’s soft side - Interview with current Finance Minister Michael Noonan in 2010 on The Frontline when he described the progression of Alzheimer’s disease which his late wife Florence battled. The normally composed politician broke down as he spoke of his wife’s suffering.

*Tweetgate – presidential candidate Sean Gallagher claimed his campaign was unsuccessful after Kenny read out a tweet from an unverified Twitter account as coming from the Sinn Féin-Martin McGuinness election campaign in 2011. Mr Gallagher continues to claim this tweet cost him the presidential election and has mounted legal action against RTE.


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