The Saturday Night Show

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The Saturday Night Show
Opening titles for The Saturday Night Show
GenreLight entertainment
Presented byBrendan O'Connor
StarringBrendan O'Connor
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons11
No. of episodes133+
Executive producerLarry Masterson
Production locationsStudio 4, RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time80 minutes
Original release
NetworkRTÉ One
Release30 January 2010 (2010-01-30) –
30 May 2015 (2015-05-30)

The Saturday Night Show is a talk show hosted by Brendan O'Connor broadcast on RTÉ One between 2010 and 2015. The show features guest interviews, audience participation and live music. The Saturday Night Show is broadcast every Saturday night during the autumn-spring season directly after RTÉ News: Nine O'Clock, the main evening news bulletin.[1]


Following Pat Kenny's stepping down as host of The Late Late Show in 2009, RTÉ announced that Ryan Tubridy, host of his own Saturday night chat show, would be Kenny's replacement.[2] Tubridy Tonight had aired since 2004 and had regularly drawn an audience of up to half a million since the first series. The departure of Tubridy to the Friday night slot left a gap in the schedule. In late 2009 RTÉ announced that it was to commission a new Saturday night entertainment show that would be fronted by "an established name or a combination of established names". Miriam O'Callaghan and Gerry Ryan, two broadcasters who lost out in the battle to succeed Kenny as host of The Late Late Show, were two names that were mentioned as possible hosts. It was hoped that the show would be "high energy", would "provide a distinctively Irish take on contemporary entertainment" and proposals for the show's format could include "chat, music, comedy, satire or some other element, such as audience participation, games, etc". It was reported by the Evening Herald that the programme would have a budget of 90,000 per programme.[3] Newspaper reports in late 2009 revealed that the new chat show would be hosted by Sunday Independent journalist Brendan O'Connor and Lucy Kennedy, however, these reports were unfounded.

In a new departure RTÉ decided to pit two new chat shows against each other. Brendan O'Connor, who moved to RTÉ from The Apprentice: You're Fired! on TV3, would present The Saturday Night Show for an initial run of eight weeks before handing over to Craig Doyle who would present Tonight with Craig Doyle for a further eight weeks.[4] Whichever chat show proved successful would be recommissioned for a further series.

The Saturday Night Show made its debut on 30 January 2010 for an initial run of eight programmes. Peaches Geldof and Jim Corr were the first interviewees while Republic of Loose were the first musical guests.

Following the completion of both The Saturday Night Show and Tonight with Craig Doyle it was decided to recommission the former for a second series. It proved more popular with the audience than Craig Doyle's show which was panned by the critics and regarded as a flop.

On 14 March 2015, O'Connor announced that the programme would end that May, with Ray D'Arcy to take over the Saturday night slot from the following autumn.[5]

Broadcast history[edit]


Series Broadcast dates Total shows
1 30 January 2010 – 27 March 2010 8
2 25 September 2010 – 28 May 2011 31
3 24 September 2011 – 2 June 2012 33
4?[clarification needed] 2012–2013?[when?] [quantify]
5?[clarification needed] 2013–2014?[when?] [quantify]
6?[clarification needed] 2014[when?] – 30 May 2015 [quantify]


The Saturday Night Show achieved cult status for numerous incidents, many of them rather coincidentally involving the common theme of homosexuality.

On the debut show, musician Jim Corr of The Corrs spoke about his belief that the truth about the September 11 attacks is being suppressed, that swine flu may have been man-made and that American military weapons caused the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Corr also argued that climate change is a hoax and that a secret society is trying to establish a one-world government.[6]

British entertainer Michael Barrymore also appeared on the first series. During a bizarre interview Barrymore pretended to be a sheep before claiming to be the father of Jedward.[7]

In February 2010, Ray D'Arcy took on Enda Kenny by vowing he would leave Ireland after the February 2011 general elections if Kenny became Taoiseach after previously comparing the man to a four-day-old floury potato. The audience applauded as D'Arcy continued: "If you listened to Enda Kenny during the week, he said 'I'm now going to be myself'. He's the longest-serving TD, he's been eight years as leader of Fine Gael and now he decides he's going to be himself."[8]

Garret FitzGerald made his final TV appearance on the show in 2011.[9]

Alex Reid proposed to Chantelle Houghton when the British celebrities appeared on the show on an episode broadcast on 8 October 2011.[10]

Oliver Callan announced he was gay on the show on an episode broadcast on 29 October 2011.[11][12][13][14][15][16]

Newly-weds Alan Hughes and Karl Broderick joined Brendan to discuss their whirlwind love affair on 5 November 2011, announcing that it was their first interview as a couple despite having been involved with each other for 18 years.[17]

The Saturday Night Show continued its gay theme by having Chris Burch, the stroke survivor who woke up to discover he was gay, as a guest, with Alex James also talking about how he makes cheese.[18] Johnny Robinson was a guest on The Saturday Night Show on 3 December 2011.[19]

During a November 2011 performance by The Overtones, Brendan O'Connor had to hold up a curtain after a "terrible mishap occurred in the RTÉ studio".[20] The incident was nominated for the "Brown Trousers Moment" award at the 2011 Erics.[21]

In January 2012, chef Antony Worrall Thompson gave his first television interview since his arrest for shoplifting.[22]

In May 2014, O'Connor asked his guest, the Labour minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, to remove a pin calling for a 'Yes' vote in the Marriage Referendum from the jacket of his collar.[23]

The final guest on the last episode was gay Labour TD John Lyons and his mammy.[24]

Endangered crew[edit]

In February 2010, a 59-year-old RTÉ props assistant injured himself after falling over a studio floor lamp while working on The Saturday Night Show. He was eventually awarded €18,500 in damages and the judge said he had worked accident free in RTÉ for 38 years, that he had been working in poorly lit conditions in a cluttered studio when he was injured by one of RTÉ's props, and that he had been in pain since sustaining his injury.[25]


On 14 March 2015, O'Connor announced without warning live on air his resignation as host of The Saturday Night Show. The presenter and Sunday Independent journalist said that the light entertainment show would finish for good at the end of that series on 30 May 2015. RTÉ announced that Ray D'Arcy, who left the independent radio station Today FM to return to RTÉ, would be replacing O'Connor with a new entertainment show in RTÉ One's Saturday night slot, coming autumn 2015.[26][27][28][29] O'Connor also announced he was not leaving RTÉ and would be hosting a new prime-time show for the broadcaster beginning in 2016.[30] Ryan Tubridy knew this.[31] Critics were unimpressed with the decision to axe The Saturday Night Show calling it "just the latest round in the apparently never-ending game of moving the same dreary old furniture around the same dreary old room."[32]


The Saturday Night Show is broadcast live from Studio 4 in the RTÉ Television Centre at Donnybrook, Dublin 4. That studio is also home to the show's Friday night rival The Late Late Show. As RTÉ's biggest studio, it holds 200 audience members. The first two programmes in the first series (broadcast on 30 January and 6 February 2010) were pre-recorded at 7:30 p.m. on the same dates that both shows were aired. All subsequent programmes have been broadcast live.


  1. ^ "The Saturday Night Show". RTÉ Television. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  2. ^ Emily Hourican (17 January 2010). "Born to be thrown into things". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  3. ^ Kevin Doyle (19 October 2009). "New show to replace Tubridy Tonight will cost hard-hit RTÉ €1,200 a minute". Evening Herald. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Tonight with Craig Doyle". RTÉ Television. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Brendan O'Connor just announced the end of The Saturday Night Show: Ray D'Arcy will host a new Saturday night show on RTÉ One from the autumn". 14 March 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Jim Corr reveals his conspiracy theories". BBC News. BBC. 25 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  7. ^ Moodie, Clemmie (9 February 2010). "Michael Barrymore pretends to be Jedward's dad in excruciating live TV appearance". The Mirror. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  8. ^ Doyle, Kevin (15 February 2010). "D'Arcy: I'd emigrate if Kenny was Taoiseach". Evening Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Dr Garret FitzGerald dies in a Dublin hospital aged 85". Irish Independent. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Reid proposes to Houghton on Saturday Show". RTÉ Ten. 9 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Callan defends homophobe accusations". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 30 October 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  12. ^ Gray, Stephen (31 October 2011). "Homophobia question prompts Irish radio comedian to come out". Pink News. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  13. ^ Horan, Niamh (30 October 2011). "I'm not homophobic I'm a homosexual, reveals comic Oliver Callan". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Oliver Callan, Comedian on Ireland's 'Nob Nation' Radio Show, Denies Homophobia, Comes Out on Live Television". HuffPost. 31 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  15. ^ Tevlin, Rory (31 October 2011). "Comic accused of being homophobic admits he's gay on live TV". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Comic Oliver Callan Says He's Gay And Doesn't Give A Sh*t". On Top Magazine. 31 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  17. ^ "Hughes and Broderick among Saturday Night Show guests". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 4 November 2011. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  18. ^ "Gay stroke survivor and cheesemaker join O'Connor on Saturday Night Show". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  19. ^ "X Factor star for Saturday Night Show". RTÉ Ten. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  20. ^ "Tug-o-war finally frees up mother's wedding ring". Laois Nationalist. November 2011. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Brown Trousers Moment". Archived from the original on 6 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Worrall Thompson gives RTÉ interview". RTÉ Ten. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 15 January 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  23. ^ "Equality Minister Ó Ríordáin asked to take off 'Yes' pin on RTÉ's Saturday Night Show". 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Brendan O'Connor's last ever Saturday Night Show was certainly eventful". 31 May 2015. Archived from the original on 5 June 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  25. ^ "€18,500 damages for Saturday Night Show injury". RTÉ News. 17 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  26. ^ Brendan O'Connor (15 March 2015). "Brendan O'Connor: So goodnight – and thanks for all the memories". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Brendan O'Connor just announced the end of The Saturday Night Show". 14 March 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  28. ^ Collins, Oisin (14 March 2015). "Brendan O'Connor made a surprising announcement on The Saturday Night Show tonight". Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  29. ^ "CONFIRMED! Brendan O'Connor leaves Saturday Night Show – with Ray D'Arcy to take over". Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  30. ^ Willie Kealy Email (14 March 2015). "Brendan O'Connor: 'The Saturday Night Show' is over". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  31. ^ Kim Bielenberg (21 March 2015). "'I knew O'Connor would be ousted by D'Arcy' – Tubridy". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  32. ^ Stacey, Pat (19 March 2015). "'RTE is moving the same old furniture around yet again' – Pat Stacey on replacing Brendan O'Connor with Ray D'Arcy". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Saturday night programming
on Telefís Éireann
(initially versus Tonight with Craig Doyle)

Succeeded by