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A look back at some of the best Late Late Show interviews of the year

Many of the most memorable interviews covered the impact the Covid-19 pandemic was having on people’s lives.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC impacted many things in 2020 including the Late Late Show, which was filmed without an audience for most of the year.

There were still plenty of memorable interviews, even if some were done via video link.

Here’s look back at some of the most talked-about interviews on the show in recent months, many of which covered the impact the pandemic was having on people’s lives.

Christy Dignam

In May, Aslan frontman Christy Dignam spoke about the pain of not being able to say goodbye to his father before he died from Covid-19.

Christopher Dignam Senior, who was in his late 80s, passed away earlier that month.

He had been living in a nursing home with dementia when he contracted the virus, and died not long after being diagnosed.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

In an interview that resonated with many people, Christy Junior spoke about the difficulties his family endured before their father’s death.

“He’s been in a nursing home for the last 11 months or so. About two weeks ago, we got a call that he had tested positive for Covid.

“From then on it was just horrible, because we knew we weren’t going to see him again.”

Christy also spoke about how the Dignam family weren’t able to say goodbye to their father properly because of Covid-19 restrictions.

“When he passed away, the coffin is sealed and you’re not allowed to see him,” he said.

“When I got the phone call that he had passed away, that was the first thing that came into my head, that I’d never see him again.”


In September, Jedward spoke about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people’s mental health, as well as the loss of their mother.

The twins, John and Edward Grimes, also hit out at conspiracy theorists and people who refuse to wear face masks, calling them “selfish”.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

Speaking about mental health, Edward said he and his brother are “the happiest people ever” but added: “I’ve never felt so low in my life, I feel like everything is just out the door. What keeps you going is just focusing on what you should be doing like making music, doing your job.”

John said the pandemic has made him and others “get very deep down into your thoughts and it makes you just want to get things off your chest”. He added that the current situation has made people appreciate “what actually matters in your life – your family, your friends”.

“You just have to be optimistic and hopeful for the future because I feel like right now we’re going through this and it is bringing us all closer together and we can all reflect back when this is past, and just keep living and hang in there,” John said.

Dr Anthony Fauci

The top infectious disease expert in the US, Dr Anthony Fauci, appeared on the same show as Jedward.

He told host Ryan Tubridy that he had a “good relationship” with President Donald Trump despite the men disagreeing with each other in public on several occasions.

Fauci admitted there were well-publicised issues upon which himself and Trump disagreed, but added that “as a personal relationship it’s not a bad relationship at all, it’s a good relationship”.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

“There has been some tension there because I’ve been having to say things from a public health and scientific standpoint that were at odds with what the President was saying,” he said.

After Trump suggested that sunlight or injecting disinfectant may be able to cure Covid-19, Fauci famously disputed this and urged people to get their medical advice from experts.

Demonstrators gathered outside RTÉ’s studios in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, to protest Fauci appearing on the show.

Some of them shouted ‘fake news’ and ‘go home Fauci’, despite the fact he was appearing via video link from the US and not actually in the studio.

Dr Tony Holohan

The man of the hour, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, appeared on the programme in October – shortly after he resumed his work in the role after taking three months off to care for his sick wife.

In the interview Holohan said young people had to shoulder a huge burden during the pandemic. His two children are aged 18 and 20, and he said he knew how the lives of that age group had been affected.

He said all the things they looked forward to, from being with friends in college, to going to pubs and nightclubs and dating, had been affected.

“The lives of people in that young age bracket have changed in almost every way,” Dr Holohan said.

Holohan also spoke about the six-week lockdown the country was entering at that stage and, when asked about the festive season, said: “Yes, I do think Irish people can look forward to a decent Christmas.”

Majella Moynihan

In the first episode of the current series, Majella Moynihan gave a heartfelt interview in which she described the harrowing experience of being interrogated by gardaí over her sex life after she became pregnant as a 22-year-old garda recruit in the 1980s.

In 2019, Majella Moynihan first told her story to RTÉ, resulting in a full apology from the Justice Minister and Garda Commissioner for how the force treated her for being pregnant outside of wedlock.

She said she was interrogated by gardaí and faced possible disciplinary action and dismissal. As a result of this, she felt pressured into giving her baby up for adoption.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

“That sworn inquiry was the most horrific abuse that could ever be inflicted on any human being. They just made me out to be such a slut.”

“That young girl was so vulnerable and all I needed was for somebody to ask me, ‘What’s it like for you Majella?’”

Sarah Feeney and Ellen Glynn

In a rare positive moment in 2020, two cousins were rescued off the Galway coast in August after hours at sea afloat on paddleboards.

A few weeks later they appeared on the Late Late Show, speaking of their gratitude to everyone who searched for them.

Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) described their ordeal and thanked the RNLI and all the people who had helped in the search.

“After it got dark and no one had found us yet, we realised the situation was a bit more precarious,” Sara said.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

They said they tried to stay positive, focusing on tying the boards together and attaching them to the buoys from a lobster pot.

“You don’t want to be having a conversation that was any way panic-inducing,” Sara recalled.

Ellen said that the focus was “thinking happy thoughts” and praying. “It’s crazy that we’re alive and we’re so lucky to be here,” she said.

Toy Show 

No end-of-year Late Late Show list is complete without mentioning the Toy Show.

There were many standout interviews and moments on this year’s programme in late November.

The stars of the show included Galway girl Saoirse Ruane, whose story inspired the establishment of the Late Late Toy Show Appeal – which raised €6.5 million, and Adam King from Cork, who shared his aspirations to work in ground control at Nasa and was surprised by hospital porter John Doyle.

In other positive news, more than €1 million was raised for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) after Daniel and Majella O’Donnell gave their support for the charity on a show back in May.

Give us an aul tune

It wouldn’t be the Late Late Show without some musical guests.

Hozier brought the house down back in March, here he is performing Take Me To Church.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

In May, Late Late show favourite Sinéad O’Connor performed her hit Thank You For Hearing Me.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

In October, Loah did a beautiful rendition of Thin Lizzy’s Dancing in the Moonlight.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. What were your favourite interviews and performances on the show this year? Let us know in the comments.

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