News Irish News

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Ray happy with Roses as he rules out run at 'Late Late'

ALISON O'RIORDAN

RADIO and television presenter Ray D'Arcy is back to play the thorn between the Roses.

But with questions surfacing over the future of Pat Kenny with the Late Late Show, the radio presenter has ruled out any interest in taking his seat.

"I have never aspired to doing a traditional chat show. I could never see myself sitting in a chair and getting excited about talking to someone from Eastenders. I love radio and I could honestly see myself in my sixties doing some weekend slot on local radio. However, television and RTE is a very conservative medium -- if they have something that works and brings in the viewers of a Friday night they are going to be very slow to change" he said.

D'Arcy also says that his new rival on Newstalk, Tom Dunne, is going to find the move "difficult".

"I wasn't privy to the logic behind it as Tom and I share the same boss. Tom stood in for me a couple of times and everybody liked him. I suppose the luckiest thing was that when we started on Today FM, no one expected anything off us so we were left alone, and in that way I would feel for Tom as there is going to be a lot of attention on him when he starts."

Ray's mid-morning show now attracts 254,000 listeners every day according to Friday's JNLR figures, and he believes there is more freedom to move between jobs.

"I do think RTE are a lot more grown up about letting people who are on independent radio work on television, and that's great as it's the way it works in other countries."

Ray also revealed he cannot foresee an end to his role as Rose of Tralee host. He said: "I think I will stick around for next year, if I am asked, as it will be the 50th anniversary of the Rose of Tralee. Gay Byrne will probably be involved in some way, we may co-present it, who knows."

With 31 hopefuls at this year's contest he is keeping quiet on who he thinks will snatch the crown from New York's Lisa Murtagh. "I have an opinion and I will say two years out of the last three years I would have had the winner in my head as they stood out.

"This year there are some really amazing stories. The Dublin Rose has overcome dyslexia to get an honours degree. She had to dictate her Leaving Cert as she can't write.

"The New York Rose is actress Ellen Condon who is combining her quest for the crown with a battle against thyroid cancer. The Texas Rose will stand out as she is six-foot-two, which will be funny. Nobody will be able to take me seriously after she is on stage. The London Rose, Belinda Brown, is of mixed race but unfortunately she has been getting stick from small minded bigots."

Ray is in a relationship with Jenny Kelly, who is one of the producers and co-presenters of his radio show, and also the mother of his child.

But she doesn't seem to have any worries about her partner being surrounded by the ladies over the last few weeks.

"I looked up one of the Roses's date of birth, and when I was starting my career in television, they weren't even born so that will answer that."

With no sign of wedding bells just yet, Ray described the couple's working relationship as "brutal and brilliant".

He added: "We work together first and work really well but we are quite different and come from different backgrounds. Jenny is a bigger personality than I would be, so we compliment each other on air and off air."

Last year, he sealed his commitment to the event by joking how he had high hopes for his new-born daughter, Kate, to tread the Tralee stage in the future. "If she wants to do I wouldn't mind her doing it but I won't be encouraging her to do it."

Meanwhile, women have stopped throwing themselves at Ray as they did in the past which will put a smile on Jenny's face. "I think for some strange reason television is an aphrodisiac for women, it's just a job the same as anything else, they think they half know you when they don't at all. I'm past all that," he said.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News