Former RTÉ presenter Derek Davis dies aged 67

Broadcaster won two Jacob’s awards and was twice presenter of the Rose of Tralee

The RTE presenter Derek Davis with Irish Rose contestants at a reception to announce details of the 38th Rose of Tralee International Festival in 1996. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The RTE presenter Derek Davis with Irish Rose contestants at a reception to announce details of the 38th Rose of Tralee International Festival in 1996. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

Former broadcaster and RTÉ presenter Derek Davis has died, the State broadcaster has announced.

Born in Co Down, he started his media career as a news journalist, working with the American network ABC and BBC Northern Ireland before moving to the newsroom in RTÉ, where he spent 11 years.

He was well known for his partnership with Thelma Mansfield on the afternoon show Live at Three.

He worked on a range of other shows, won two Jacob’s awards and was twice presenter of the Rose of Tralee.

Davis (67) took part in a panel discussion on the Marian Finucane radio show on Sunday discussing obesity and spoke about his own weight loss.

He is survived by his wife and three sons.

RTÉ director-general Noel Curran said Davis was a “hugely popular” man, both with audiences and with his colleagues in RTÉ.

“He was one of the first presenters I worked with as a television director and he was always generous with his time and advice, then and after.

“He was full of humour and warmth and was one of the most versatile presenters RTÉ has seen,” he said.

“But at heart he was always a journalist, and he brought that inquisitive sense of journalism to everything he did.

“From Live at Three to the Rose of Tralee, from Liveline to regional reports on the 2007 General Election for Drivetime, Derek Davis’s popular approach was always rooted in that strong journalism, which had marked his earlier years as a reporter and newsreader.

“He will be fondly remembered as part of the first two-hander news presentations with Anne Doyle, as well as his long-lasting pairing with Thelma Mansfield, just two of the many highlights in a long and distinguished career. I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to Derek’s wife, his three sons, his extended family, and former colleagues.”

From 1986 Davis co-hosted RTÉ One’s Live at Three with Thelma Mansfield, which ran for 11 years.

In addition to this he had an interactive summer show, called Davis, and was a team captain alongside Ronan Collins and Twink on the charades game show Play the Game.

Davis returned to the screen in the late 1990s with a marine programme devoted to boats and the waters around Ireland, called Out of the Blue, which ran for four series, the last of which was broadcast in 2001. His latest appearance on television was in 2005 on a show called Time on Their Hands, a travel series for middle-aged people.

In 2000, Davis presented a radio show called A Question of Food. In recent years he deputised on the mid-morning slot on RTÉ Radio 1 as well as on Liveline, when regular presenter Joe Duffy was away. He also wrote a collection of radio columns called And That Was Derek Davis.

He also was a presenter on 4FM.

In a statement, Minister for Marine Simon Coveney has expressed his sadness at the news. “Derek was a big personality, a passionate and talented communicator on both food and marine issues,” he said. “His love for the sea was so evident whenever I met him. Derek was a much loved figure in so many Irish homes for the connections he created over a lifetime of broadcasting.”