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Breakfast will lose its crunch without Yates

IVAN Yates presented his last Breakfast programme yesterday. I'll miss him, largely because of the entertainingly prickly banter with younger sidekick Chris O'Donoghue.

I picture them sharing a bed like Morecambe and Wise, or Bert and Ernie. On Wednesday, Chris mentioned a report on the psychological effect of earning less than your boss.

"I thought this had an echo of you and me," said Ivan.

"But we earn the same don't we?" said Chris dryly.

"Carry on!" said Ivan, chuckling evilly to indicate that he earned far, far more.

"I earn a bit more because I get up earlier," concluded Chris.

"You and the tooth fairy believe that!" said Ivan when they returned to the topic later. And I imagine he did a dance and showed Chris his payslip (Ivan's antics often recall the behaviour of alpha-male apes in Attenborough documentaries).

Ivan's more defining contribution, however, is a penchant for opinionated editorialising. On Wednesday he railed against RTE "arrogance". He seemed personally affronted by how they'd restructured their investigative operation and retired their MD of news and current affairs Ed Mulhall in response to the Father Reynolds affair.


Ivan suggested it was a "whitewash" and that they should have waited for the Broadcasting Authority's report. His passion may have been coloured by RTE's refusal to send anyone on his show. "They ignore any rival station because they just think it doesn't exist," he said, although Noel Curran had actually appeared on Tuesday's Last Word.

Over on Morning Ireland, Father Reynolds' solicitor Robert Dore and media commentator Kevin Rafter were cautiously interviewed by Rachel English, but when Ivan got his hands on the same interviewees, he was more emotional. He was shocked that Fr Reynolds hadn't been consulted about the RTE restructuring, and he unsuccessfully pressed Dore for confidential details of the payout. Later he clashed with Rafter, who cautioned him about making assumptions before the BAI reported, and read a text claiming Rafter was an "RTE cheerleader".

During the political panel Ivan again used his big poo-stirring spoon to ask Labour's Joe Costello where he'd stand on a totally theoretical leadership putsch by Joan Burton. ("He's sitting on the fence!" sang John Drennan gleefully.)

When Sinn Fein's Padraig McLoughlin defended his own party's leadership saying "Gerry Adams is re-elected at our Ard Fheis every year", Ivan said, "Sounds like something from communist Russia!" (When it comes to Marx, Ivan is more Groucho than Karl.)

When the talk moved to Newstalk owner Denis O'Brien's controversial relationship with the Government, however, Ivan stayed relatively silent. This is because, as befits a man who once ran a chain of bookies, Ivan is a bit of a chancer. But he's an entertaining chancer, and I'd like to see him return to broadcasting.


On Monday's Tubridy a dream analyst called Ian Wallace interpreted listeners' dreams. His conclusions were measured. A man who dreamt of being chased by a lion was told to embrace his talents, not to avoid lions.

A woman who dreamt of doing a Backstreet Boy dance routine at work was told she needed to "make something happen", not form a boyband.

Ryan recounted a dream about a delayed flight. Ian said it indicated "some conflict about the things you want to do in your career, and what you're trying to do is ... bring various threads of your career together into something purposeful".

"You're good, Ian," said Ryan, impressed (don't be surprised if he brings Ian to his next round of contract negotiations).

On Wednesday's Drivetime Joseph O'Connor passionately praised James Joyce's Dubliners (Dublin's One City One Book choice for 2012) and all week Stephen Rea read extracts for the Book on One.

Nobody considered what Dubliners might have been like if written in the age of Twitter, but on Monday Michael Rosen did so with Shakespeare's Hamlet. In an engaging Word of Mouth special about text-speak (Radio 4), Rosen spoke to teens and linguists and concluded that nowadays Hamlet would be abbreviated to: "Fed up guy. Dad killed by his uncle. Doesn't do much about it. Dies."