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Saturday 25 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Great Setpectations
Seven mountains Ray D'Arcy needs to climb tomorrow night
No pressure.

The Ray D'Arcy Show Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

TOMORROW NIGHT THE Ray D’Arcy Show debuts on RTÉ One.

Going head-to-head (not literally, but in every other way) with Tubridy, attempting to translate a highly successful radio career onto the small screen, and leaving behind his kids tv presenter past (while depending on the good will and nostalgia those memories generate) – none of this is easy.

Some of the mountains he has to climb include…

Fever pitch

We don’t know about you, but the first song that springs to mind when we think about Ray D’Arcy isn’t steamy Peggy Lee classic Fever.

That’s the song that accompanies the teaser trailers for the new show, giving it something of a Nighthawks feel.


Are we to expect dim lighting, guests swilling drinks, sophisticated and risqué chat and Ray in a slinky red number? DON’T WRITE CHEQUES YOUR BODY CAN’T CASH, RTÉ.

Great set-pectations

RTÉ has released pictures and ‘drone footage’ of D’Arcy’s new set, and it looks… like a chat show set.

The Ray D'Arcy Show Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

It’s a little Graham Norton with the long couch and the coffee table. There’s the standard band set up, the wood-effect back drop.

But the big question is: where’s Ray going to sit? On the plush couch with his guests? On a chair that hasn’t been revealed to us? Behind a barrier-building desk? Suspended from the rafters?


Of course, there isn’t much leeway when it comes to chat show sets, but it’s sure to be under scrutiny, as will the cost of the carpet, couch, lightbulbs, screws etc. And we’ve all seen the frenzy that grips the country when the Late Late dares to make a change. Big issues. Huge.

The Ray D'Arcy Show Andres Poveda Andres Poveda


The inevitable guest comparisons

One of the Late Late Show’s biggest pains in the hole is the (largely unfair) guest comparisons to UK chat shows.

Graham Norton has Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard and Jessica Chastain this week. Graham Norton’s show is pre-recorded. Graham Norton’s show is filmed in London. Graham Norton’s show is watched in large numbers by Irish audiences, particularly Irish audiences who pay to go the cinema and listen to music.


Bringing big name stars to Ireland is often seen as an unnecessary addition to an already packed press tour, and asking the talent to do it live is an added headache.

D’arcy will no doubt face the same problems, and with his show and the Late Late battling for the same guests, it’s a jungle out there in Donnybrook.

The inevitable pints of Guinness/hurls/jerseys

Something the Late Late Show – and indeed Ireland as a whole –  is guilty of is weighing any celeb who comes to the country down with pints, sliotars, heritage certificates and aran jumpers.

steve RTÉ RTÉ

Can Ray and co entice the big names, but then avoid the fetishisation of tired Irish stereotypes?

People will kill their grandmothers to see Beyoncé swigging a bottle of McDaid’s Football Special or Will Ferrell scoring the winning goal for Ireland at the Euros though, so it’s a delicate balance.

The first guest benchmark

Tommy Tiernan has been revealed as one of D’arcy’s first guests. Indeed, he’s been touted as a ‘scandalous’ first guest.


Scandalous? No. Safe? Possibly. Tiernan is a middle Ireland favourite. A Vicar Street staple. He’s guaranteed to bring the laughs to a mass audience; people love him and will tune in in case he says something controversial about the Church/Cavan/Dublin/Australia etc.

Is he an exciting enough first guest though? Is there something else up the D’Arcy sleeve for tomorrow night?

Switching gears

Ireland TV has a seemingly unshakeable horn for switching gears between complete fluff and serious topics on live chat shows.

D’Arcy is used to this to a certain extent after his years at the helm of mod mornings on Today FM. In fact, his show had turned a little Old Man Shouting At Clouds in the months (years? Please don’t shout at us, Ray) before his departure.

The Ray D'Arcy Show Andres Poveda Andres Poveda

Can he successfully switch gears between the lighter guests and the ‘lean forward and look serious’ stuff, while also treading the line between being more opinionated than Tubs without shouting at clouds?

That’s a lot of gear switching and line treading.


D’Arcy earns seven skagillion euro, or so we’ve heard. He’s going to have to face plenty of variations on “GIVE ME BACK MY LICENCE FEE” if he fails to prove himself.

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