Thursday 14 December 2017

Tubridy starts third BBC stint but plays down permanent move

Ryan Tubridy arriving at Dublin Airport from London yesterday
Ryan Tubridy arriving at Dublin Airport from London yesterday

Mark Hilliard

RYAN Tubridy began his third stint on BBC radio yesterday but vowed he had no plans to move across the water permanently.

He stood in for just a day for Chris Evans on the Radio 2 breakfast show, which averages almost two million listeners a day -- more than 10 times the number who tune into the 2fm morning show Tubridy will be back presenting today.

Yesterday was just an introduction to Mr Evans's listeners ahead of a longer BBC run over the summer months, which will inevitably spark further speculation on where his future lies.

It is understood he will take unpaid leave from RTE to work with the BBC.

But on his return home yesterday afternoon, Mr Tubridy played down the notion that he was on the way out or that he would ever bring the curtain down on the 'Late Late'.

"I'm sure there is a queue forming to buy my airline ticket and I say that with a laugh," he said on his way home from London.

"I would have to have a very long, hard think about it (moving permanently). It's too soon to say and I wouldn't be arrogant to presume that far ahead."

The 37-year-old said his BBC gig was simply "an adventure to broaden his horizons" but admitted his career in Irish radio had had its issues.

"It's challenging on occasion; my own radio situation in Ireland isn't exactly triumphant but we are working on it," he said.

'Radical'

"I will just kind of keep going unless something radical changes -- at the end of the day it's up to my bosses.

"I won't be going anywhere from the 'Late Late Show'. Sure, you can freshen it up if needs be, but last Friday we pulled in 48pc audience share."

A third invitation from BBC radio chiefs -- he has previously filled in for Graham Norton and Ken Bruce -- is a proof of how highly valued he is in London.

"You have to understand to be thrown into that show, which is the biggest show around, there for one day only is a tough call because it's just a drive-by," he said.

"It would be nice to have a run at it, which will hopefully happen this summer."

He is working with the same producer, Alan Boyd, as on the last shows.

"It's a different world. First of all they will get to know me, the listeners, and my quirks and my shortcomings and then I will be more comfortable and I will know them."

A BBC spokesman remained reticent on the subject of Mr Tubridy's future.

But with pre-publicity for yesterday's show describing the Dubliner as "arguably the biggest chat show host and television presenter in Ireland", it is clear the BBC is maintaining its interest.

Lewis Carnie, head of programmes for BBC2, previously said: "It's always exciting to introduce new voices to the schedule and I'm delighted that we've managed to persuade another of Ireland's biggest stars to work his magic."

Irish Independent

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