AROUND half a million viewers tuned in to watch Ryan Tubridy interview his good friend, the late Gerry Ryan.
The interview, recorded in 2008, was screened as part of the late broadcaster's Ryan Confidential series.
Gerry Ryan Confidential was the most popular episode of the series to date, according to figures obtained by the Herald.
The programme was a fuller version of a show which aired in 2008, and it included previously unseen material.
It attracted an audience of 563,000 and a 40.5pc audience share, according to RTE.
"This represents the highest audience that any episode of the Ryan Confidential series attracted," an RTE spokesperson told the Herald.
The previous episode, in which Gerry interviewed Heather Mills, attracted almost half that audience with 298,000 viewers last April 29, the day before the father-of-five was found dead.
The staggering audience figures show the depth of respect Gerry Ryan was held in, RTE bosses said.
"The days that have passed since Gerry's sudden death have revealed the true depth of the respect and affection in which he was held by the Irish people.
"We are gratified that such a large audience tuned in to watch last night's Gerry Ryan Confidential. It was a heartfelt tribute from the producer, David Blake Knox, who worked with him over many years, and from Ryan Tubridy, who was a close personal friend."
Ryan Tubridy said that going back to the interview with his close friend was very hard.
"Revisiting my interview with Gerry was exceptionally difficult. I remember that day with vivid clarity and it was upsetting to think we'll never sit and joke and chat together again.
"In the interview Gerry is as candid as I've ever seen him and he's emotionally raw. I'd like to see it as a love letter to those that loved him."