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I wasn't pushed, claims Virginia

Virginia Macari has rubbished suggestions that she was "dumped" from RTE's Podge and Rodge Show as part of a dramatic overhaul.

The part-Italian designer has denied claims that producers axed her after deciding that her barmaid character of Gina was no longer needed.

A spokeswoman for RTE has echoed her comments and has confirmed that the socialite was the one who made the decision to move on from the irreverent chat show.

"I was the one who decided to leave the show of my own accord and it's not true to suggest otherwise," she told the Herald.

"I didn't really want to get into any of this as I had a great time working on the show, all the team were great, but, like I originally said, I wasn't being creatively challenged on the programme. I was the one who met with the show's producer last Monday and told her that I had decided to move on."

She added that she remained on great terms with everyone in the production team and was now hoping to return to her original passion of designing.

The late-night programme, which met with a decidedly mixed reaction from audiences last season, will be returning to our small screens on Tuesday, February 23, after the decision was made to ditch the pub quiz format in the Stickit Inn.

However, RTE has insisted that there are no major changes in store for the show, created by Ciaran Morrison and Mick O'Hara, as it always had a "very loose format", the RTE spokeswoman said.

"We aren't bringing in any major changes. It's going to be Podge and Rodge presenting it themselves from now on but it was decided to get rid of the pub quiz element in the middle of the last series, so it's just gone back to it's original formula," she explained.

"It's going to be pretty much the same as it was before, incorporating things like a look back over the week and some celebrity interviews. We're really concentrating on developing the best elements of the show."

And the station will not be replacing Virginia with another female presenter, despite there being no shortage of TV lovelies clamouring for the role.