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Monday 18 December 2017

Gaybo's back on TV for Meaning of Life despite cancer battle

Gay Byrne will host the 14th series of The Meaning Of Life
Gay Byrne will host the 14th series of The Meaning Of Life

Legendary broadcaster Gay Byrne is returning to the small screen.

Gaybo has been battling cancer in recent months, but it has been confirmed he will return to television for the 14th series of popular programme The Meaning Of Life.

Last year, the 83-year-old informed listeners to his Lyric FM show he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Having spent the last several months being - by his own admission - "a terrible patient", Byrne will front another run of the show.

Beliefs

Filming has yet to take place, but the production team hope to set up interviews with a range of major public figures about "the people, experiences, choices, ideas and beliefs that give their lives meaning".

Previous guests have included Garry Hynes, Dolores Keane, Joan Burton, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Hozier, Majella O'Donnell, and Rory O'Neill (aka Panti Bliss).

In one of the show's most famous episodes, Byrne interviewed Stephen Fry.

The English actor, writer and comedian hit out at the idea of God, when asked what he would say if he was wrong and the deity existed.

"I'd say, bone cancer in children? What's that about?" Fry said.

"How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It's not right, it's utterly, utterly evil.

"Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God, who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain. That's what I would say."

His comments led to an investigation by gardai for blasphemy, which was eventually dropped.

Byrne is also due to return to the airwaves in October for his Lyric FM show. Speaking previously about going back to work, Byrne said his wife Kathleen was not in favour.

"Kathleen was very much against it because she doesn't want me to take on anything which is stressful or a strain," he said.

"But my radio show is not a stress or strain programme, it's a little Mickey Mouse radio programme on Sunday afternoon."

Next year, Byrne will celebrate his 60th year working in broadcasting. He started out in 1958 as a presenter on Radio Eireann.

Details of Byrne's show will be announced as part of the RTE autumn launch later this week.

That will also reveal how the station has managed to enlist several A-list Hollywood celebrities to present TV shows.

Success

Gabriel Byrne will host a documentary about the life and work of playwright George Bernard Shaw.

The programme, My Astonishing Self: Gabriel Byrne On George Bernard Shaw, follows on from the success of Bob Geldof's centenary documentary about WB Yeats.

Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston will front James Joyce: A Shout In The Street, which will trace Joyce's tumultuous life.

And Downton Abbey and Paddington actor Hugh Bonneville will present Countdown To Calvary. In a special RTE programme for Easter 2018, he will travel to Jerusalem to tell the story of the last six days of Jesus's life.

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