Anna Nolan: Ray's show passed the test, now back to speculating about the Late Late
I like Ray D'Arcy. I have been on his radio show many times. I like how laid back he is while interviewing.
I know, however, that this laid-back atmosphere is created by (in the past certainly) a top-class team of Ray, Will, Jenny, Mairead and, of course, other researchers. That was when he was at Today FM.
I was a guest recently on his RTE radio show. The team (excluding Mairead) were still getting their heads around a new set up - a more RTE-ish set up I suppose.
I'm sure they have come across a dash of bureaucracy, a smidgen of institutionalism and a smattering of "who the hell do this lot think they are, bringing their whole team to RTE".
But the Ray D'Arcy show on Radio 1 is doing what it says on the tin. It's entertaining, in a Ray sort of way.
There were conspiracy theories about Ray's shift to RTE. Some said the move was simply getting rid of Ryan Tubridy's competitor.
The mornings were now freed up for Ryan to grab the ratings and Ray would do a grand job in the afternoon.
Oh, how I love a conspiracy theory.
All theories aside, Ray is the big boy now in RTE. They have plans for him and they want him to stay and succeed. Every few years The Late Late Show conversation comes up. It is without doubt RTE's most important show and it needs to be cared for and minded.
Considering that Tubridy took over the reigns at a very young age, I am sure that the heads must be considering what would happened if he got offered a job in Britain. Or in America. It's not too crazy a possibility. Just look at James Corden and his leap across the Atlantic. Ryan could do a much better job - and the Yanks would love him.
Think Conan O'Brien with a twist - or maybe not so much of a twist as just an Irish accent.
And Tubridy would be mad not to take it. Do we really think that Ryan would like to stay in the same job for another 20-odd years until he retires?
If it was me, I'd go loo-la.
Ray D'Arcy started his new television role on Saturday night with the cynics and conspiracy theorists ready to pull him apart.
Lights (lots of them), camera, action - and off he went, talking to four guests.
For a first night, I think he did a very good job.
I really enjoyed the Tulisa interview. Tommy Tiernan was allowed to run riot and he was hilarious.
The 'mickey's eyebrow' was one of the funniest stories I have heard in a long time.
If you have time you should watch the interview online.
The music at the end by Wheatus was great and Ray deserved the drink he was looking for at the end of the show.
I imagine The Ray D'Arcy Show will be analysed and adapted over the next few weeks, months and years.
Because I get the feeling that he is here to stay on TV. And that is no bad thing.
Women must be given right to choose what happens to their own bodies
I BUMPED into Tara Flynn on Saturday afternoon as she was making her way into the Ginger Man pub near Merrion Square. It was a sunny afternoon and there she was, bounding across the road with her pal to enjoy a well-deserved refreshment.
Tara Flynn is a funny lady. You might know her from Irish Pictorial Weekly or from The Mario Rosenstock Show. I know her from the voiceover she did for a show I worked on called Whose Holiday Is It Anyway?
But, really, you should know her from the campaigning work she does. Tirelessly and graciously, Tara is funny and serious all rolled into one.
Last year, she made a very funny video with Kevin McGahern from Republic of Telly. It was set in the future and they played a scared heterosexual couple who had locked themselves in their home because marriage equality had come about.
She made another brilliant comedy sketch about a racist B&B, inspired by an incident in which her husband encountered racist abuse when he visited her hometown of Kinsale.
When I met Tara last Saturday she had just come back from the pro-choice, Repeal the 8th march that was on in town. She had recently gone public about her own experience of having a termination. She wrote an honest piece about it and spoke about it at Electric Picnic.
For the first time, I don't know how Tara is going to be funny about this issue. Because it is deadly serious.
Ireland is exporting a problem. Since 1968 200,000 women have left this island to have terminations in Britain. It's shameful - and we cannot continue to ignore what is happening.
Of course, Tara Flynn knows this is no laughing matter. The Government has to listen to her and others. Giving women the right to choose what happens to their bodies is the most serious issue most of us face.
Another Bake Off is almost ready
I FINISH filming the brand new series of The Great Irish Bake Off tomorrow. I cannot tell you how honoured I feel to have this amazing job presenting this amazing show. It's series three and I am not going to gloat about the programme.
OK - I am. It's bloody good. You have no idea how hard the bakers work each week, trying to give the judges the very best. They arrive on a Sunday, having had three days off to practise. They have jobs and families that need attention. In between this, they are baking like bejaysus. I absolutely love this year's bunch, and you are all going to see them in a few week's time on TV3. Let the baking fun begin.
50 years on, mum's still buying Irish
My mother told me a story the other day. When she was a young mum in Dublin around 1970, a middle-class mum turned to her as she held the tiny duffle coat up for inspection, saying "Thank heavens for Uncle Ben". Mam nodded in agreement.
The woman was referring to Ben Dunne Snr and the affordable St Bernard brand that epitomised Dunnes Stores.
Life went on, with personnel changes, disputes and all the ups and downs associated with business. Clerys went, Boyers went but still we have our very Irish Dunnes Stores. My mother recently called to the flagship store in St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre and thought "Wow". The department store is gorgeous. She said she looked at the staff - young, eager - and she bought something. As she told me later "Sure, you'd have to".