| 9.8°C Dublin


"SOME of you will be saying 'Ryan who?'" declared Graham Norton's summer stand-in as he began his BBC Radio 2 debut on Saturday morning.

But the 'Late Late Show' host and 2fm presenter is obviously hoping that increased familiarity with his patter will soon breed content among his British listeners. However, his bid to become the new Terry Wogan started uneasily, the Irish DJ feeling obliged to explain, and at excessive length, that the first syllable of his surname was pronounced "tub" rather than "toob" -- as if anyone, even in the Home Counties, had seriously imagined otherwise.

His initial attempts at banter with traffic updater Bobbie were just as heavy-handed, while there was also something laboured about his need to make his new audience aware of his regular contacts with heads of state and world leaders.

He chose, though, to make a point of stressing his Irishness, presumably on the grounds that if it worked in Britain for Wogan and Norton -- not to mention Eamonn Andrews, Dave Allen and Henry Kelly -- there was no reason to believe it wouldn't work for him, too.

For the first 80 minutes of the three-hour show, the host had to compete for time with the bland pop that's the mainstay of Radio 2, but then he got the chance to stretch himself during a 35-minute chat with Alastair Campbell.

Having already interviewed Tony Blair's former spin doctor on the 'Late Late', he was in his comfort zone here, sounding both alert and engaged. His other guest was Andrea Corr, though this latter conversation was too reliant on tired old showbiz-schmoozing to be of any interest.

Maybe her fans liked it, and maybe in time Tubridy will acquire as many Radio 2 disciples as Terry Wogan.

Irish Independent