Tubridy Tonight

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Tubridy Tonight
RTÉ Tubridy Tonight 2008-2009 logo.jpg
Logo used by Tubridy Tonight towards the end of its run
GenreLight entertainment
Created byKathy Fox
Directed byNiamh White
Presented byRyan Tubridy
StarringClint Velour
and the Camembert Quartet
Country of originIreland
Original language(s)English
No. of series5
No. of episodes156
Executive producer(s)John O'Regan
Producer(s)James Cotter
Production location(s)Studio 4, RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland
Running time65–80 mins
Original networkRTÉ One
Original release16 October 2004 (2004-10-16) –
30 May 2009 (2009-05-30)
Preceded bySaturday Live (1999)
Followed byThe Saturday Night Show (2010–2015)
Related showsThe Late Late Show (1962–present)
External links

Tubridy Tonight is a talk show hosted by Ryan Tubridy that aired on RTÉ One for five seasons between 2004 and 2009. The programme featured guest interviews (usually three per show), audience participation and live music from both a guest music group and the house band. Tubridy Tonight aired every Saturday night, except during the summer months, directly after the main evening news. The show's house musical act was Clint Velour and the Camembert Quartet.

Tubridy Tonight was the first successful Saturday night chat show to be broadcast by RTÉ since the ending of Kenny Live in 1999. The programme had regular viewing figures of 450,000,[1] however, the show also regularly fell victim to so-called "Saturday Night Syndrome", with The Late Late Show, broadcast on Friday nights, frequently featuring supposedly better guests.[1] In 2009 Tubridy Tonight came to an end when RTÉ announced that Tubridy would succeed Pat Kenny as host of The Late Late Show for the following series, with the presenter describing Tubridy Tonight as "quite the odyssey".[2]


Upon Gay Byrne's retirement from The Late Late Show in 1999, RTÉ announced that Pat Kenny, host of his own Saturday night chat show, would be Byrne's replacement. Kenny Live had aired since 1988 and had been a staple of the RTÉ schedule since the first series. The departure of Pat Kenny to the Friday night slot left a gap in the schedule. Saturday Live, a programme that had originally aired in the late 1980s and featured a different host every week, was revived as a replacement. The second coming of the show proved unpopular and was ended after only one series. Following the axing of Saturday Live RTÉ declined to produce a Saturday night chat show, instead favouring to show a film after the main evening news. On 9 May 2004, RTÉ announced that Ryan Tubridy would host a new Saturday night chat show that coming autumn.

Tubridy Tonight made its debut on 16 October 2004 for an initial run of ten programmes. It featured Gráinne and Síle Seoige, Hector Ó hEochagáin and Royston Brady as the first interviewees. The programme received relatively good reviews, with Shane Hegarty of the Irish Times describing the show as having gotten off "to a ropey start but improved as it went along." Hegarty bemoaned the fact that the show was broadcast live as "it added nothing to the show apart from a weak caption competition for viewers and a distinct nervousness to the host." An element of the programme which included audience participation was described as a "meek replication of Graham Norton's old routine." The new chat show proved popular with audiences and, after the initial run of ten shows ended, another thirteen shows were commissioned thereby extending the first series.

Tubridy Tonight was broadcast from Studio 4 in the RTÉ Television Centre at Donnybrook, Dublin 4. That studio was also home to the show's Friday night rival The Late Late Show. As RTÉ's biggest, the studio holds 200 audience members.


Logo used by Tubridy Tonight between 2004 and 2008

Tubridy Tonight was in RTÉ One's Saturday night slot from 2004 to 2009, having succeeded Kenny Live upon its demise in 1999.a The show had an American-style feel about it[3] with a house band, the Camembert Quartet, providing the theme music and introductory pieces befitting the guests.[4] Similar to American chat shows, Tubridy Tonight had no opening titles and borrowed its informal bantering style from US entertainers such as David Letterman and Conan O'Brien.[5] The studio was revamped for series five in 2008, with the addition of a staircase used by guests and a platform for the house band, although the library theme remained intact.[6] The show followed a simple format. There were usually three interviewees as well as a musical guest. Tubridy may also have conducted a quiz or a game at his leisure with a member of the studio audience, an example being a game of charades based on the Academy Awards,[7] and there also may have been a competition which, upon the show's imminent endage, consisted of a live call to a viewer who may or may not win a prize.


Tubridy Tonight conducted the last live television interview[8] with model and socialite, Katy French only two weeks before her death[9] in suspicious circumstances.[10] The interview took place on 24 November 2007[11] during the fourth season of the chat show. In 2008, it featured a live fight between chefs Kevin Dundon and Dylan McGrath over their styles of cooking; the duo were on the show to promote Guerrilla Gourmet.[12] On 1 March 2008, Tubridy Tonight saw the first Irish television interview with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová following their Academy Award-winning show the previous month. Hansard's mother brought the award to display to the nation.[13] In February 2009, the show was subject to a hate campaign on social networking site Facebook.[14]

Broadcast dates[edit]

Seasons Dates
1 16 October 2004 – April 2005
2 2005–2006
3 23 September 2006 – 19 May 2007
4 22 September 2007 – 17 May 2008
5 27 September 2008 – 30 May 2009

List of episodes[edit]

Seasons one and two[edit]

“Are those real books?”

Ross Noble inspecting the famous Tubridy books in an early episode of the chat show[15]


Guests on the first two series' of the show included: Bob Geldof, Charles Dance, Bertie Ahern and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny. Actress Brenda Fricker appeared with her Oscar and was shown playing drums with the house band. Former tennis player Pat Cash was shown playing guitar. Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow sang The Beatles song "Hey Jude" and encouraged the audience to join in. Hollywood actor Richard E. Grant revealed his reason for appearing in Spiceworld: The Movie.

Also appearing were: comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, Irish international rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll, snooker players Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis, former Emmerdale and Bad Girls actress Claire King, Coronation Street actress Sally Lindsay, actor Jimmy Nesbitt, supermodel Twiggy, Naked Camera actor Maeve Higgins (who revealed why she wanted to marry Eddie Hobbs), West Wing actor Martin Sheen, actress Julie Walters, comedian Ross Noble (Who climbed the prop bookcases and inspected the books to see if they were real, before ripping out a picture of Mike Yarwood on one page and wearing it as a mask and television personality Hector Ó hEochagáin.

Musical guests included: Blondie, The Human League (singing "Don't You Want Me") and Natalie Imbruglia (singing "Shiver").

Guests included:


As is standard with televised talk shows, each week an artist was invited to perform a musical composition. Irish musical groups to appear included:

Irish soloists invited to perform their musical compositions included:

Season three[edit]

International guests in season three included: David Hasselhoff (who entertained the audience with an impromptu version of "Unchain My Heart"), Jack Osbourne, Ainsley Harriott, Paul Burrell, Martin Sheen, Julie Walters, Wendy Richard, Joshua Jackson, Fionnula Flanagan, Andy Summers, Pete Burns and Joanna Lumley.

Season four[edit]

International guests in season four included: Christian Slater, Jennie Bond, David Gest, Sophie Dahl, Myleene Klass, Janice Dickinson, Barbara Windsor, Frank Vincent, Dominic Purcell, Kathleen Turner, Martin Freeman, Carol Vorderman, Patsy Palmer, Max Clifford, Geri Halliwell, Joe Elliott and Morgan Spurlock.

Season five[edit]

“It's like trying to run an assembly in a girls' school!”

Ryan Tubridy on the audience's excited reaction to his guests Take That, which he also described as never having occurred with any previous guest on the show.[16]

International guests in season five included: William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Roger Moore, Richard and David Attenborough (on separate occasions), Paul Gascoigne, Spandau Ballet and a then-unknown singer called Lady Gaga. Former president Mary Robinson also appeared, as did Gay Byrne. David Hasselhoff made a return appearance to mark the final episode, as Tubridy moved to Friday nights and The Late Late Show.

Christmas shows[edit]

In 2006, Tubridy began travelling beyond The Pale to host his annual special Christmas show.

Date Location
23 December 2006 Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork[17]
15 December 2007 Regional Sports and Leisure Complex, Letterkenny[18][19]
2008 Galway


A poll found that, within five months of Tubridy Tonight going on air, 38 per cent of adults preferred Tubridy on television, compared with 40 per cent opting for his main rival, Pat Kenny, with whom the show competed for guests. Tubridy Tonight and its host also won praise[3] from the former host of The Late Late Show, Gay Byrne. This led to some ponderings as to why Tubridy was left with substandard "dull" guests that did not befit his talent.[20] Some guests opted to be interviewed by Tubridy instead of by Kenny on The Late Late Show. Competition between the two shows was analogous to similar competition in a previous decade between Byrne and Kenny.

A 2008 survey by The Times concluded that almost ⅕ of guests on RTÉ chat shows including Tubridy Tonight were RTÉ employees and associates. The survey did not include musical acts.[21]


  • ^a The host, Pat Kenny moved from the Saturday night slot to take over the presentation of The Late Late Show on Friday nights on the same channel.


  1. ^ a b "Ambitious, smart and a natural chat show charmer". Evening Herald. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Ryan reflects on Tubridy Tonight series". RTÉ. 30 May 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Kenny pips young rival Tubridy at finishing post". Irish Independent. 10 April 2005. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  4. ^ "Camembert Quartet". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Tubridy Tonight Rings in the New Year". Irish Independent. 27 December 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Tubridy Tonight returns with packed line-up". RTÉ. 26 September 2008. Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 26 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Watch the charade game". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2008.
  8. ^ "I was with Katy in the house and I tried to help her". Irish Independent. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Top Irish model dies in hospital". BBC News. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  10. ^ "Irish Model Dies in Arms of Her Sister, Police Launch Investigation". Fox News. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2007.
  11. ^ "That Katy French interview". RTÉ. 27 November 2007. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Dining in the dark". Irish Independent. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  13. ^ Interview with Glen and Markéta RTÉ, 1 March 2008
  14. ^ "Tubridy targeted by vicious hate mob". Evening Herald. 26 February 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
  15. ^ "Episode 3". Tubridy Tonight. Season 1. Episode 3. 30 October 2004.
  16. ^ Tubridy Tonight RTÉ, 6 December 2008
  17. ^ "TUBRIDY TONIGHT ***Live at the Everyman Palace in Cork***". RTÉ. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Tubridy's guests tomorrow revealed". RTÉ. 14 December 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2007.
  19. ^ "Huge demand for 'Letterkenny' Tubridy Tonight tickets". Derry Journal. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  20. ^ "Tubridy outgrows RTÉ's dull guests". Evening Herald. 20 October 2008. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  21. ^ Coyle, Colin (28 December 2008). "RTÉ chat shows like to stick to their own". The Times. Retrieved 6 January 2009.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Films - having succeeded
Saturday Live's second run
Saturday night programming
on Telefís Éireann

2004 - 2009
Succeeded by
The Saturday Night Show
Tonight with Craig Doyle