- Film & TV
- 11 Sep 23
Following former host Ryan Tubridy’s exit in May of this year, RTÉ will introduce TV presenter and comedian Patrick Kielty as the new permanent face of The Late Late Show.
The 52-year-old host, hailing from Dundrum, County Down, will make his debut this Friday, promising to bring his own unique character to the quintessential Irish chat show while still retaining its steady format.
The Late Late Show began in 1962, and has since emulated the ever-changing atmosphere of Irish society, often shocking and simultaneously uniting its viewers with the topics laid bare. The programme’s original host Gay Byrne, while a magnetic entertainer, also prompted conversations with celebrities and politicians of more depth than other international chat shows, setting The Late Late Show apart in the showbiz realm and making it a fixture of Irish life.
Kielty seconds this sacredness of the show, sharing his own experience during an interview on Sunday with RTÉ Radio One. “When you grow up on a show that meant so much to people up the road, I think that for us and a lot of people, and what people had to live through up there, to be able to turn that on on a Friday night and for that to be a window to normality,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan.
"When you grow up on a show, that meant so much to people up the road"
The new @RTELateLateShow host @PatricKielty tells @MiriamOCal why presenting the show means so much to him. pic.twitter.com/sItntONqBq
— RTÉ Radio 1 (@RTERadio1) September 10, 2023
“That was kind of the life that we wanted to have. So to be able to walk out and host that show? Big deal.”
Unlike his three preceding hosts Byrne, Pat Kenny and the most recent Ryan Tubridy, Kielty is no Dubliner. The County Down native began his career in entertainment in the ‘90s, starting off in standup during his years at Queens College. He has since made a name for himself in showbiz through various TV appearances and presenting roles, along with his own programmes PK Tonight and Patrick Kielty Almost Live, which ran on BBC One from 1999 to 2003.
Kielty also co-hosted the talent show Fame Academy with his now-wife Cat Deeley, whom he married in 2012. The pair share two sons and reside in London, where Kielty will commute from to host The Late Late Show every week.
Despite his multifaceted career, Kielty stands apart from his predecessors: He is no Dubliner, and his background is in comedy and entertainment, whilst the programme’s former hosts came from the landscape of national broadcasting.
But The Late Late Show is a treasure to Kielty, nonetheless. The new host even made one of his earliest television appearances on the show with Gay Byrne as a comedian.
"I think I’m much more ready to host this show than I would’ve been at any other time in my life,” Kielty told RTÉ’s John Byrne. “I think, in order to host this show you’ve got to be comfortable in your skin. I have lived a wee bit.”
Lived, he has. In 2018, the Irish presenter stepped outside of his comfort zone with the intimate documentary My Dad, The Peace Deal and Me. The BBC Two film navigated the death of Kielty’s father at the hands of terrorists, and explored the effect that loss had on him.
More recently, the Late Late host dipped his toes into acting as a lead in the forthcoming dramedy Ballywalter, starring alongside Seana Kerslake. Kielty’s adventurous career has made him “more ready,” he relays, to have such necessary sit-down conversations.
But not to worry – Kielty is not about to flip the show on its head, nor allow it to mould into one of many popular chat shows. He acknowledges the importance of the show’s quintessential Irishness, and doesn’t plan on changing its format. The essence of The Late Late Show is here to stay – it just has a new face.
The Late Late Show airs Friday, 15 September at 9:35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.
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