herald

Monday 26 September 2016

Strewth! Gaybo leads the invasion as host of Irish stars hit Aussie TV

Gay Byrne in an episode of The Meaning of Life with gardening expert Dermot Gavin
Gay Byrne in an episode of The Meaning of Life with gardening expert Dermot Gavin
Liam Neeson

Australian viewers are about to get a lesson in the meaning of life from our very own Gaybo.

Veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne is proving his international appeal after his series in which he quizzes famous faces about their faith was snapped up by a leading TV station Down Under.

ABC TV has bought in-house RTE production The Meaning of Life for its religion and ethics slot Compass.

The 30-minute episodes see the former Late Late Show host discuss life's big questions with public figures including Stephen Fry, Michael Parkinson, Martin Sheen and Bob Geldof.

A hugely popular destination for Irish immigrants and backpackers, 81-year-old Gay will be familiar to many viewers when the series lands on ABC TV in Australia.

With 50 episodes of The Meaning of Life under his belt, Dubliner Gay finished filming the latest series earlier this year.

The radio and TV star told the Herald recently that he is taking "life more slowly" following a heart attack over the Christmas period. He finished up on his Lyric FM show last week, but is due back on air later this year.

"I'll be on again but by arrangement I come off at the end of March, and go back in October," he said.

The Meaning of Life is just one in eight RTE series that has been sold to Australian broadcasters.

There was another success for celebrity chef Donal Skehan, who's latest series Kitchen Hero: Feast was picked up by Foxtel Australia.

Narrated

Foxtel has also bought Room to Improve, fronted by Dermot Bannon, while Dr Eva Orsmond's Sugar Crash show was bought by SBS, as was the RTE 1916 documentary narrated by Liam Neeson.

Australia's Nine Network has picked up the series Garda Down Under, which looks at life on the beat for Irish officers in Western Australia, the largest police district in the world.

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