Sit Down and Be Counted


About this Item

An extract from a debate on 'The Late Late Show' on the issues raised in the book 'Sit Down and Be Counted' written by the former RTÉ producers Lelia Doolin, Jack Dowling and Bob Quinn.

  • Title
    Sit Down and Be Counted
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Gay Byrne (Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    The Late Late Show
  • Clip title
    Sit Down and Be Counted
  • Extended description

    Lelia Doolin, Jack Dowling and Bob Quinn three producers resigned from RTÉ in 1968 over differences of opinion on what was the function of the television produced by the State broadcaster.

    The three outlined their arguments in the book 'Sit Down and Be Counted' and expressed their concerns about the chase for ratings and the commercial pressures that advertising brings on programme making.

    For an hour 'The Late Late Late' panel including Michael Garvey, Controller of Prorammes on Television and Jack White the Assistant Controller along with members of the audience debated the role of television in Irish society. 

  • Information

    'The Late Late Show' was intended to be a summer "filler" but proved so successful with the public that it became part of the regular schedule. The idea for the programme came from the show's producer, Tom McGrath, who wanted to present an Irish version of the American talk show 'The Tonight Show'.

    Gay Byrne was to be the show's presenter and would remain so for the next 37 years. Tom McGrath's original idea was that the show would be informal and have the feel of people dropping in for a chat.

    'The Late Late Show' became an important forum for the airing and debating of many issues in a changing Irish society.

    The first programme of 'The Late Late Show' was broadcastat 11.20 pm, 6 July 1962. At the time, it was unusual to have a live talk and entertainment show on so late in the day's viewing. On that first show, the guests were Count Cyril McCormack, Ken Gray, George Desmond Hodnett and Harry Thuillier. McGrath would go on to pioneer many other successful variety shows on Irish television.

    Pat Kenny replaced Gay Byrne as presenter in 1999 and remained in that position for 10 years.The programme is still running today and is presented by Ryan Tubridy.

  • Local keywords
    RTÉ, Broadcasting, Television, 1960s, Gay Byrne, Lelia Doolin, Jack Dowling, Bob Quinn, Michael Garvey, Jack White
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    The Media
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)