Michael O'Doherty: My pop at O'Leary, Rosie shines, Emmerdale crew, Jedward ... but Gerry's children scoop top award
It was the best one yet. I probably say that every year, but Saturday's Walkers TVNow Awards was an almost perfect night, and will be a difficult one to top next year.
The sun gods smiled on us for the second year running, giving us a beautiful day which makes such a difference to the mood.
Even the dreaded ash cloud, which had messed up our press launch a few weeks back, relented to allow our UK guests in.
Not that their passage was without trouble -- the Ryanair flight scheduled to bring the Emmer-dale crew over was cancelled due to 'technical difficulties'.
I had a pop at Michael O'Leary a few weeks ago in this column, and immediately feared that this was his revenge. But they were good enough to transfer the 20 guests on to a flight to Knock, where we had a coach meet them and drive them -- in the nick of time -- to the ceremony. It was a very close call and another example of the miraculous powers of that part of Ireland.
Jedward were a revelation. Sure, they're cheesy beyond belief, but have innocence, charm and energy; a hundred or so screaming teenage girls followed them around all day and the UK soap stars were ever so slightly awestruck to be photographed with them ...
If you're old enough, as I am, to remember the Bay City Rollers, then you'll know what I'm talking about.
While most of the event is carefully scripted and choreographed, there are certain things you can't plan for. And to be honest, they very often make the night. Some guest presenters are chosen because we know they'll be fun -- Johnny Vegas, you certainly didn't disappoint us -- and the fact that winners are never notified in advance means acceptance speeches are unrehearsed, and unpredictable.
And when you're one of the last winners on the night, with more than one glass of sherry in your bloodstream, it can lead to hilarious results. Tune in to Kathryn Thomas's speech at 8pm tonight on TV3 to see what I mean ...
Kathryn dared to speak the words -- 'Johnny Ronan' -- that I promised not to mention. Much was made in the media that Rosanna and Glenda were going to come face to face after the former's trip to Marrakesh. But I needn't have worried, to be honest, as both Glenda and Rosanna were great sports on the night, and the much-anticipated awkwardness simply didn't materialise.
We couldn't let this year's awards go by without a tribute to Gerry Ryan, so we chose to do that as our grand finale.
Getting the tone right with things like this can be difficult. You don't want to be too downbeat, as it's the end of a long night, and you want people to go home in good cheer, but obviously you want to show respect. His children Rex and Lottie agreed about a week ago to turn up to accept the award. Obviously still raw from the past couple of weeks, they were quietly ushered in at about 11pm, and showed great courage in getting up on stage to say a few words on behalf of their dad.
The video montage which Paul Daniel and his team at TV3 put together, was a gem, with many members of the audience close to tears. Colleagues, and his brother Mano, said it perfectly captured the man -- indeed one of his RTE colleagues said it was the most perfect tribute anyone, including his own station, had paid to Gerry. It's the finale of the TV3 broadcast tonight -- don't miss it.