Thursday 22 March 2018

Verdict: Apologies Ryan, but you'll really have to sharpen up

Darragh McManus

HE wouldn't be famous for springing surprises -- if anything, Ryan Tubridy is the definitive "safe pair of hands" -- so kudos for how he caught everyone on the hop by launching his new 2fm show three days ahead of schedule.

And the verdict on that first day? Short version -- not so much 'The New Gerry Ryan Show', more like Tubridy's old Radio 1 programme stretched thin over two hours. Long version -- I should admit I'm probably not the target audience for this. While I can see he has some admirable qualities as a broadcaster, I'm not a huge fan of Tubridy.

But listenership figures speak louder than my reservations. Clearly, he has something that hundreds of thousands of people like. Unfortunately, whatever that is, I didn't get it.

The whole thing felt oddly dead. Whatever else you'd say about him, the man is energetic and enthusiastic, fizzing with life. This, though, was slow and dull and lethargic, like Ryan and his guests had been gently sedated beforehand.

He even seemed rather hesitant throughout, almost like he was trying to be someone else and didn't have the belief to pull it off, instead of drawing on his own skills and personality.


He apologised and begged our patience several times, but in a weird way, this seemed somewhat fake. Tubridy is obviously brimming with self-confidence -- nobody soars that high in such a public profession without it. I didn't buy the awkward self-consciousness.

The show itself felt stretched too thin; there just wasn't enough to engage our interest for 120 minutes. First, Tubridy browsed through the papers for 25 minutes; that can be excruciatingly boring unless the browser is very funny, clever and opinionated.

There were some heartfelt tributes to his predecessor. Some listener calls weren't particularly interesting, neither were slots on the Rose of Tralee, the Leaving Cert and an Irish Sky News reporter.

The centrepiece was an interview with Bono -- never a man to refuse the oxygen of publicity -- but even this lacked sparkle, with Bono sounding half-hearted as he talked about his back injury and a new Spider-Man musical. The best part was a rapid-fire Q&A, during which both host and guest sounded animated.

This was only the first day in what will presumably be a long residency. But the show does need to sharpen up, shape up and, most of all, liven up.

Irish Independent

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