Tubridy gets a little bit personal with the Taoiseach


Tubridy started a little nervously with his first guest, the Taoiseach, but then settled in to his new role

RYAN TUBRIDY’S virgin flight at the helm of an arthritic and creaking Late Late Show got off to an inauspicious start, to the rhythm of an old theme tune dressed up in a vaguely jazzy but somewhat asinine frock.

Tubridy, looking a little like a diver on the precipice of a dizzying springboard, appeared before his enthusiastic audience on a frothily busy set, the staging reminiscent of the mid-Atlantic rootless chic that also decorated the set of his previous sinecure, Tubridy Tonight.

To the cheers of a lenient and enthusiastic audience, Tubridy introduced his much-vaunted first guest, Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Cowen and Tubridy, like politely nervy pugilists in a ring, danced around the issues of the asphyxiating economy, the suspect oxygen of Nama and all the crucifying woes of the country. With little real spark or engagement, Tubridy cited examples of absurd over-spending (on hire cars and the like) by Government representatives and Cowen attempted to look to a future, albeit a bleak one, reluctantly suggesting that the next budget will see cuts across the board, with everything taking a hit.

The contract between the two men felt like they were both involved in damage limitation. Even when Tubridy asked Cowen whether he drank too much, to which Cowen replied “no, I don’t, not at all,” Tubridy immediately apologised for being annoying in his line of questioning.

From that point on Tubridy seemed relieved, settling into his sparkling new set and gaining in confidence.

From Bryan McFadden washing his dirty linen in public about his former wife, Kerry Katona, to Cherie Blair providing unexpected entertainment, via Joan Collins, who crawled out of the crypt in a new wig, and the charming Saoirse Ronan and the warmly engaging Niall Quinn and his wife, one was left with the sense that Tubridy was well in control of the Late Late ship.

The only hitch on the night involved the close when the orchestra failed to deliver on time, first night nerves I suppose.