Friday 24 November 2017

'Prime Time' move like diving into a cold lake – Lee

RTE presenter George Lee and UCD lecturer Dr Orina Belton at the launch of the new charity, Irish Heart Disease Awareness
RTE presenter George Lee and UCD lecturer Dr Orina Belton at the launch of the new charity, Irish Heart Disease Awareness
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

BROADCASTER George Lee has admitted that his move to 'Prime Time' was a "daunting" transition, but has finally given him a return to current affairs after enduring four years of "huge adjustment" at RTE.

The former Fine Gael TD joined the weeknight television programme alongside Claire Byrne as part of Kevin Bakhurst's editorial and structural changes, which saw an amalgamation of 'Prime Time' and Pat Kenny's 'Frontline'.

It has seen a return to prominence for Lee, who left the national broadcaster in 2009 to stand in the Dublin-South by-election and embark on a political career.

He said that he has undergone a four-year period of massive change professionally and told the Irish Independent that while it's "early days" for the new 'Prime Time' set-up, he's hopeful his position on the panel is "long-term".

"In the beginning I found it a big adjustment; it feels like a new job, a new area. I came into a programme that has a team who work differently to me," the economist said.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't (daunting) because the process of adjustment was like jumping into a cold lake – it looks inviting, but then you actually have to go and do it.

"I've been through so many changes in the last four years, but like everybody else in the country, we all have to change what we're doing ... I'm happy now, I feel much more like I'm going in the right direction."

He added: "It took a while, but I'm glad I'm there and back into mainstream current affairs."

Lee presented a documentary 'Heart of the Matter' last night on RTE One, a one-hour programme about cardiovascular disease – Ireland's biggest killer.

"Documentaries really weren't my field, but in the last few years I've really been out of my comfort zone in RTE, doing all sorts of things I never thought I'd do," Lee explained.

"I really enjoyed it and the whole thing is meaningful, it could save people's lives. It's something I wouldn't shy away from now."

The programme featured entrepreneur David Bobbett, founder of new charity Irish Heart Disease Awareness (IHDA).

In 2011, a medical revealed to Bobbett that his odds of suffering a heart attack had increased, despite his healthy lifestyle.

Since then, the father-of-six has dedicated himself to researching heart disease.

Irish Independent

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