Mr Tubbs' blather routine goes down a treat on Beeb
Forty years ago, Sidney Poitier asked southern rednecks to call him Mr Tibbs, and yesterday morning Ryan Tubridy asked BBC Radio 2 listeners to call him Mr Tubbs.
On his 6.30am start as Chris Evans's stand-in, he was introduced by Nikki, the previous show's DJ, as "the very lovely and the very talented" Ryan Tubridy, though she puzzled over his name. Hence his "Tubbs" suggestion.
Having stood in for Graham Norton on the station last summer, he seemed quite at ease in his BBC holiday home, though the format -- playing six pop tracks every 30 minutes, along with news, weather, sport, traffic updates and what-the-papers-say slots -- didn't allow him much scope to make an impact.
Still, he did get to exhibit his geekish fondness for cultural trivia, prattling on about the original titles of famous movies and wondering about the private lives of such fictional detectives as Hercule Poirot and Jessica Fletcher.
Bubblegum for the ears is Tubbs's stock-in-trade and if the latest Irish listenership figures indicate that audien-ces at home are wearying of it, the Brits can't seem to get enough of Irish blather, tho-ugh they still have intelligi-bility problems with the Irish accent -- when Tubbs told traf-fic girl Bobbie that he didn't "understand a word they say" on 'The Wire', she riposted "And that's from you!"
He managed the odd impish remark, observing of Wilson Pickett's 'Mustang Sally' that the refrain "Ride, Sally, ride" would have a "different connotation in Ireland" -- before hurriedly adding: "But we'll get into that at a later time."
Much later, I'd say, if he doesn't want to offend early-morning 'Daily Mail' sensibilities.
Some of his badinage with the reporters seemed to startle them, not least when he asked a flu-struck, sniffling Bobbie: "What's the matter with you? Do you need a hug? Do you know what you need? A duvet day." Possibly unsure whether this was meant as advice or an invitation, Bobbie didn't respond and they moved swiftly on.
The show moved swiftly on, too, cramming more than 30 undemanding pop songs into its three-hour length, and then along came the guest we'd been promised at the outset -- Fr Brian D'Arcy, a "pal from Ireland", as Tubbs described him.
We didn't hear, though, about the cleric's recent travails with the Vatican, which probably would have been a bit too Irish -- too local, anyway -- for the show's English audience, and maybe too politico-religious, too.
Instead, the priest was in a Pause for Thought slot, quoting a Spanish proverb about how beautiful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterwards. And in this vein he urged his listeners to "take time to relax, especially if you don't have time to do so".
Tubbs, though, clearly has no time to relax, what with his RTE commitments and now this further shot at glory with the Beeb. I won't be listening, but I'm sure Chris Evans will be lending a wary ear to the Irish broadcaster.