He’s home and he’s safe: Ryan Tubridy settles back into Radio 1

Mick Heaney’s review: Anyone seeking edgy radio will be disappointed, but Ryan Tubridy sounds eager, concerned and engaged with his subjects

He's back in the same berth he left five years ago, and he has lost an hour of precious airtime in the process. On the face of things, returning to the lacuna that is the post-Morning Ireland slot on RTE Radio 1 seems like a regressive career move for an ambitious broadcaster like Ryan Tubridy.

But far from going through the motions for his second time round on Radio 1, the presenter sounds over-eager to get started, playing the sponsorship jingle for the first edition of his new programme (imaginatively titled The Ryan Tubridy Show) before Brian Jennings has even finished reading the news bulletin.

Initially, it seems as though Tubridy hasn't got the memo that he's changed stations. He first talks about the weekend's proceedings at Electric Picnic, a topic more readily associated with 2FM's younger target demographic.

But it soon becomes clear that Tubridy is settling back nicely into his old home. There is an implicit admission of his old fogey-ness when he speaks about some events at the festival being “too wellington boot-y”.

When his opening spiel moves onto Europe’s migrant crisis, he speaks with the air of a man no longer required to temper his frame of reference for youthful listeners.

“The language of immigration over the last week or two I think has been freakishly eerie. Talks of trains and processing people and camps – remember hearing those words before?” he asks, sounding reasonably confident that his new audience won’t assume he’s just talking about the return journey from a badly-organised music festival of yore.

Although his show's duration has been truncated, Tubridy gets through quite a bit, with the bonus that he doesn't now need to stretch out flimsy items to fill out two hours. Hence his interview with Majella O'Donnell – about her husband Daniel's stint on Strictly Come Dancing – ends before the listener has time to grow too bored with the well-meaning platitudes that are passed off as jaunty conversation.

The shorter time span also means that he doesn't go through his usual Monday ritual of talking endlessly about the previous Friday's Late Late Show, which many will surely count as a blessing.

Tubridy hasn’t ditched everything from his 2FM show. He revisits a regular issue, that of suicide in Ireland, when he talks to Dave, a Kilkenny taxi driver who the previous day had saved a man from jumping off a bridge.

This item has uncanny echoes of a conversation Tubridy had in July with a young Limerick woman who had saved a man in a similar scenario. But the presenter ensures the issue stays vital, as his guest recalls his own depression and explains why he set up a group of taxi drivers to look out for people in suicidal situations.

Throughout this, Tubridy sounds concerned and engaged without being maudlin.

It’s not all plain sailing. Reviewing the weekend’s GAA action, he states that Dublin beat Kilkenny, but this hurling-football mash-up turns out be a case of Tubridy getting his games – and codes – muddled.

The only other time Tubridy sounds discombobulated is when impressionist Oliver Callan slags him in the voice of other RTE personalities, but at least the skit is funny.

Overall, it’s a decent start, if a safe one. Anyone looking for edgy, innovative radio will be disappointed on this showing, but then such thrill-seekers are unlikely to be listening to Tubridy in the first place.

After all, a presenter who signs off by saying that “We’ll see you on the morrow” is not looking to be on the cutting edge.

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