Young fogey grows up to become a man for all TV seasons
SOMETHING'S changed about Ryan Tubridy. It seems the man who has spent the past decade as broadcasting's Young Fogey has finally realised that, at 34, he is one of the youngest personalities in RTE.
Gone is the talk of crosswords, winter walks, Inspector Morse episodes and lounge music.
The new Ryan is all about dark, cool Matrix-style ads for his chat show, stylised photo shoots and being listed as one of Ireland's men to watch in women's magazine polls.
The geeky glasses and schoolboy haircut of the old Ryan are gone and instead he is now a natty dresser in designer suits with his own individual, classy style.
Has the TV and radio star finally found his mojo? Or has he made a resolution that this year he's going to do a Justin Timberlake and bring sexy back?
A recent funky commercial for Tubridy Tonight showed Ryan dressed as Smith from the Matrix, surrounded by dozens of clones and imploring: "Join us".
In Image magazine, he was one of the poll-toppers in a list of the most successful men in Ireland under the age of 35.
Alongside a photo of him looking all Hugh Grant-y, the magazine gushed: "He should run for political office, he's that charismatic. And sartorially succinct. Wears Paul Smith well - a seasoned pro, he's quick, articulate and engaging off-air as well as on and he has finally outgrown the Young Fogey mantle."
There's even a new confidence on the TV show. Where once the Blackrock boy became a little bashful around the kind of guests who liked to make double-entendres, he was well able to handle the brash Denise Van Outen on the final show of the season last month.
One might even say he was flirting with the English lovely.
A Dublin social diarist said: "He used to be the kind of guy you would fancy in school because he made you laugh. But he has become something of a man about town and has plenty of admirers."
He is still very young for someone so far up the ladder in RTE.
The diarist said that these days he is more and more frequently seen at launches and'Has the TV and radio star finally found his mojo? Or is he doinga Justin Timberlake?'
events and he is charming and flirtatious with peers like Caroline Morahan and Laura Woods. "And now he always takes his guests to Lillies Bordello after the show finishes on Saturday nights and he is often in that trendy city hangout the Bailey."
However, the diarist said he has remained true to himself and has not abandoned the bookish side of his personality. It was in evidence in his profile in the Image magazine article: "Currently reading Everyman by Philip Roth and listening to Alan Partridge. He's hoping to bring baking back. 'I do a good Eve's pudding'."
He was secure enough in his public image and popularity this year to risk being interviewed by the piss-taking Podge and Rodge, who had previously lambasted him and his "stupid awkward eyes, he reminds me of the undead".
Introducing him as "South Dublin on a stick" they finished up by congratulating him for "coming on the show and taking it like a man". If Tubridy is on a personal campaign to show the world that you can be a bit of a nerd and intellectual and yet still be cool, funny and popular at the same time, it seems to be working.
For a while there, it was cool to slag off Ryan and dismiss him as being a "square". But his irreverence, dislike of political correctness and often dark sense of humour has won the young audience over.
Tubridy was recently awarded Best Male TV Personality at the TV Now awards, in a poll that was voted for by the public. And he can take some small comfort in the fact that he didn't even make this year's "c**ts list" in the satirical magazine Mongrel. He topped it last year, which is something of an achievement in itself.