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'Dear Gay': RTÉ has begun a call-out for a new documentary on Gay Byrne

RTÉ want to hear from anyone who may have written to Gay Byrne in the past

Gay Byrne appearing on the Late Late Show's 50th anniversary special
Gay Byrne appearing on the Late Late Show's 50th anniversary special
Image: by Michael Chester/Photocall Ireland

RTÉ HAS STARTED a call-out for anyone who had written to Gay Byrne during his time as a presenter, for a new major documentary called “Dear Gay”.

The call-out wants to hear from people who wrote to Byrne, and who have interesting stories that they’d be willing to tell. 

The documentary will be based on the relationship between Byrne and his audience, told through the tens of thousands of letters which were received by RTÉ during both the Gay Byrne Show and the Late Late Show.

“There are few public figures in Ireland who have done more to shape modern Ireland than Gay Byrne. A conservative man and lifelong Catholic, Gaybo was an unlikely revolutionary, but his work on radio and television over six decades uncovered injustices, challenged taboos and brought many hitherto untold stories to the nation, often causing controversy and always igniting debate,” said RTÉ in a statement this evening.

“Many have argued that his broadcasting work during that period was a catalyst for national change, gradually chipping away at age-old norms and ushering in a new, more tolerant Ireland. Others, including Gay himself, claimed he simply rode those tides and brought changes that were happening anyway into the public sphere.”

According to RTÉ, there are boxes full of letters addressed to Byrne within the RTÉ archives, from members of the public who wanted to tell their stories, to complain, to seek advice or simply for publicity for their business or themselves.

People wrote letters to Gay sharing personal stories which they sometimes couldn’t even tell their best friends and family members, which lifted the lid on subjects such as domestic abuse, depression, alcoholism, divorce, abortion, forced adoptions, homosexuality, clerical and institutional abuse and more.

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RTÉ is requesting that anyone who had written to Byrne, or knows someone who wrote to him, to go to rte.ie/gaybo and fill in the form.

Alternatively, people can write to:

Dear Gay
RTÉ,
Donnybrook,
Dublin 4

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