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Wednesday 13 December 2017

I'm so busy with Late Late 50 and my BBC job, I can't wait to get to Graceland for a break...

NOT only am I gearing up for tonight's Late Late 50, I'll be working as usual on my 2fm radio show, will be jetting over to the UK on Sunday for the BBC and will be busy being a dad.

A herculean amount of work has gone into this anniversary show tonight and I'm really looking forward to it.

It'll be like a toy show for grown-ups and a momentous way to end the season.

I can't wait to have a couple of months away from the cameras until we're back on in September.

Next month will be fantastic, I'll be covering at the BBC for two weeks and then finally relaxing with a two-week break.

Plans for my road trip to Graceland are almost complete.

It'll be a four-day flying visit to get away from the craziness of the world, I can't wait for that escape from reality.

I'm listening to a bit more Elvis at the moment than I should be, driving around the place.

I'm contemplating going to a karaoke bar in Memphis to get everything off my chest!

A lot has been said about my remark that RTE should cut the Late Late by a quarter.

I've said it from the very beginning since taking it over, it was all said in rueful jest.

I think it's good to talk about it, people have been agreeing and disagreeing with me about it since.

Even if RTE decide to put another hour on it, it's a privilege to do it.

I've been preparing for tonight's finale for a few weeks, but the team have been preparing for months behind the scenes. All the heavy lifting gets done backstage, so I'm really lucky that way.

I just come along and say, 'right, you've put the ball in front of the net, now I just have to try and kick it between the posts' -- and I hope I do.

I'll be chairing the event, but Pat Kenny and Gay Byrne will have a huge presence on the panel.

And when I say chairing, I won't be sitting there calling all the shots, their role will be very important too.

I really want them to feel very much at home and get involved and reminisce.

Whenever Gay [Byrne] comes on to the show it feels like he's coming in to see how the teacher's doing in the primary school.

To have Pat there as well, it feels like two landlords coming to see whether I have kept the house neat.

It's a bit different, so I do feel a benign pressure. I don't feel overly concerned or worried, although it ups the ante.

But there'll be no personality clashes between the three of us.

I get on with both guys, it's one of the smallest clubs in the country, the presenters of the Late Late Show club, so we all have something in common, we'll have a lot of fun later on when we're unwinding.

I'd say it'll be quite emotional for them. I'm only a rookie, so while it's a huge honour for me, having fought the war and left field of battle it'll be much more reflective for them.

Even though I've had a number of rehearsals throughout the week, there'll be no run-through with my predecessors. We'll all just turn up and see each other.

I've decided I'm not going to bring my family along to sit in the audience this evening.

I'm trying to keep it separate from my personal life and just think of it as another day at the office, although it'll be a big one. I have to keep my focus on the show and do my job.

I'll have a few beers after we go off air and then I'll head over to the BBC on Sunday morning to fill in for Chris Evans.

I don't have to prepare too much. I keep an eye on the show, but there's a great producer over in London running the show, so it'll all be in safe hands.

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