The Meaning of Life (TV series)
|The Meaning of Life|
|Also known as||The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|No. of series||7|
|No. of episodes||36|
|Original channel||RTÉ One|
|Original airing||19 April 2009|
The Meaning of Life is an Irish television programme, the first series of which was broadcast on RTÉ One in 2009. It is presented by the veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne. Each episode involves Byrne interviewing a well-known public figure. The series is broadcast each Sunday night at 22:20.
In 2010 The Meaning of Life returned for both a second and, later, a third series. Interviews with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and actors Gabriel Byrne and Brenda Fricker during the second series attracted media attention when they spoke of their religious habits and child sexual abuse respectively.
A fourth series soon followed. Then a fifth series from January 2012. And a sixth in October 2012. And a seventh in January 2013.
The second episode was broadcast on 26 April 2009. It featured an interview with Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, who spoke of the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution, the great unknown, Final Judgment and how his beliefs have affected his life as a republican. Byrne said this meeting with Adams had lacked any confrontation but described it as "an interview where you certainly had to think on your feet".
The third episode was broadcast on 3 May 2009. It featured an interview with author Maeve Binchy, who spoke of losing her beliefs as a Roman Catholic during a journey to Jerusalem as a young adult, describing it as "the Road to Damascus experience in reverse".
The fourth episode was broadcast on 10 May 2009. It featured an interview with singer Ronan Keating, who was described by Byrne as "a revelation" after the episode. Keating spoke of his disagreements with his manager Louis Walsh, the death of his mother from cancer and the Marie Keating Foundation which resulted.
The fifth episode was broadcast on 17 May 2009. It featured an interview with musician Sinéad O'Connor, who spoke of her views about the deity of her belief system and how this affects her artistic output. She later said the two had "a lovely morning together". The interview was filmed in January 2009 at O'Connor's house. Byrne referenced the interview in an article he wrote for the Sunday Independent later that day.
The sixth episode was broadcast on 24 May 2009. It featured an interview with writer and filmmaker Neil Jordan, Jordan immediately denied being religious, but indicated spiritual beliefs when he stated his view that life continues after the permanent termination of the biological functions that define a living organism. Jordan recalled his father telling him he would return after death and their subsequent post-death encounter during a stormy fixed-wing aircraft flight.
Broadcast 17 January 2010
Gabriel Byrne spoke for the first time about sexual abuse he had received from the Christian Brothers when he was a boy and also said he had left the priesthood after he "walked up the stairs behind two girls in miniskirts" while on a bus in London.
Broadcast 24 January 2010
Broadcast 31 January 2010. In which the actress spoke about being beaten by her mother and sexually abused by a friend.
Broadcast 7 February 2010.
Broadcast 14 February 2010.
Broadcast 21 February 2010.
Broadcast 26 September 2010.
Broadcast 3 October 2010.
Broadcast 10 October 2010.
Broadcast 17 October 2010.
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh
Gay Byrne meets the legendary sports broadcaster.
Dana Rosemary Scallon
Gay Byrne meets the singer and politician.
Gay Byrne meets his long-time friend and former colleague, Sir Michael Parkinson.
Gay Byrne meets the comedian.
Mark Patrick Hederman
Gay Byrne meets the Abbot of Glenstal.
Gay Byrne meets the Hollywood acting legend. Sheen discussed his pro-life views and said his wife was conceived through a rape and he says had her mother aborted her, or dumped her in the Ohio River as she had considered, his wife would not exist. He also talked about three of his grandchildren who were conceived out of wedlock, saying his sons "were not happy at the time but they came to love these children. We have three grown grandchildren, two of them are married, they're some of the greatest source of joy in our lives."
Broadcast 8 January 2012.
Broadcast 15 January 2012.
Fr. Shay Cullen
Broadcast 22 January 2012.
Broadcast 29 January 2012.
Broadcast 5 February 2012.
Broadcast 9 October 2012.
His first televised interview since his presidential failure.
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John Boland of the Irish Independent claimed the series became "more religious in thrust and tone as it progressed". He described the episode featuring Neil Jordan as a "bizarre encounter", in which the writer and filmmaker "grew more and more bemused" as Byrne questioned him in great detail about his religious faith. Jordan answered such questions as "Do you think your religion might return to you on your deathbed?" and "Do you think there's a day of reckoning?" with "I really haven't got a clue" and "I don't know, Gay" but when he commented that "every time I'm in a plane and it's hit by lightning I bless myself", Byrne replied "Hah!", as if, according to Boland, Jordan had "just revealed a basic faith in the Catholic Almighty rather than a reflex reaction to imminent catastrophe".
Byrne prefers not to discuss his own faith:
|“||I am not going to say, because it would compromise me in terms of the show if people knew I had a position. What you find is that they are all searching. No one has the truth.||”|
An average of 247,000 viewers tuned into the first four episodes of the series, featuring interviews with Farrell, Adams, Binchy and Keating. The episode featuring Keating attracted the most viewers, with a total of 258,000 reported. Next was the Adams interview, with 251,000 viewers. This was followed by the interview with Binchy which had 231,000 viewers.
- "Late Late Show guests are revealed". RTÉ Arts (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 18 December 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
- "The Meaning Of Life with Gay Byrne". RTÉ. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "Gaybo shows why he's still pulling in the viewers". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). 14 May 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "Sinead reveals X Factor fantasy". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). 16 May 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- "'A caller said "I know for a fact that he had his hand up her skirt for the whole interview." And I thought, dammit, they miss nothing...'". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). 25 January 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
- McDonald, Henry (19 January 2010). "Gabriel Byrne tells of childhood sexual abuse". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- "Gabriel Byrne: I was abused as a child". The Daily Telegraph (London). 20 January 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- Byrne, Andrea (31 January 2010). "Fricker reveals a childhood of abuse". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- McGreevy, Ronan (8 February 2010). "Ahern reveals deep religious conviction and hope of heaven". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- Dubliner's Diary (9 February 2010). "Dunphy goes on a Haunted date night". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 14 February 2010. "Gay interviewed Edna O'Brien for his current RTE series, The Meaning of Life. "Edna will appear on the series in the next few weeks, so naturally I had to be here to offer my support. "He's on it the week after Mary Robinson and I must say I really enjoyed our conversation," said Gay."
- "Wogan joins Byrne on Meaning of Life". RTÉ Ten (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 25 September 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Hurley, David (25 September 2010). "Limerick's Terry Wogan gives Gay Byrne his thoughts on the meaning of life". Limerick Post. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- "Terry Wogan tells of anguish over death of baby girl". The Belfast Telegraph (Independent News & Media). 27 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
- O'Brien, James (4 October 2010). "Fionnula Flanagan reveals she returned to God when granddaughter disappeared". Irish Central. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
- "Upfront". The Irish Times. 10 October 2010.
- http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/the-red-hand-of-paisley-14979212.html. Missing or empty
- Cathy Hayes (April 17, 2011). "Martin Sheen opens up about his strong anti-abortion views". IrishCentral.
- Martin Sheen Sheds Light on Reasons for His Pro-Life Views
- Raidió Teilifís Éireann interview
- "Former president Mary McAleese 'not troubled' by gay marriage". RTÉ News. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Boland, John (30 May 2009). "A funny comedian? Don't make me laugh". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 2 June 2009.
- Courtney, Kevin (23 January 2010). "In God, we curry flavour". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- Byrne, Gay (13 February 2010). "The chameleon of Montrose". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2010.