A look back at the recording of special editions of the Late Late Show in London in 1968 and 1980.

2018 will be the third time The Late Late Show has gone to London to broadcast special editions of the long running RTÉ series. In 1968 and in 1980 the Late Late Show moved from its studio base in Donnybrook to London. Sadly no recordings of either of these productions exist. The inordinate cost of videotape at a time when television was seen as ephemeral with little or no need for repeats meant that tapes were used again by recording over programmes. 

By 1968 The Late Late Show had become a forum for many debates about Irish society. A decision was taken for the London production to be primarily about the Irish living in Britain. A young research assistant Vincent Browne in writing a planning document for the show noted that there were over a million Irish born people living in Britain and that, 

Many of these emigrants have been compelled to leave Ireland by our own failure to provide adequate social and economic conditions for them at home. Thus we cannot ignore their condition in the emigrant city - we have a responsibility to ensure their welfare. In any event, Ireland with its long and doleful emigrant heritage has always looked upon her emigrants as much a part of Irish Society as its residents and a tradition of reciprocity has forever been maintained between the two.  

RTÉ Guide 15 March 1968
RTÉ Guide, 15 March 1968

The Late Late Show was recorded with an audience at The Irish Centre in Camden on the 15 March 1968. The guests included Eamonn Andrews, Mary Kenny and Father Dore. Discussion on the programme dealt mainly with the experience of Irish people living in Britain.

The production team for this special edition of the Late Late Show included Adrian Cronin, Pan Collins, and Joe MacAnthony. Producer presenter Gay Byrne was also responsible for bringing back the videotape of the show for broadcast on RTÉ television on the 20th March 1968.


Opening Sequence of The Late Late Show London Edition (1980)


In 1980 the Late Late Show went to London for a second time. The format was a mix of entertainment and discussion. Guests included Barbara Cartland, The Bogey Boys, Denise and Tommy Nolan.

Barbara Cartland on London Late Late Show (1980)
Barbara Cartland on London Late Late Show (1980)

A discussion involving the studio audience delved into the Irish in Britain and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Gay Byrne took to the streets of London for a filmed insert to ask people for their thoughts on Ireland and the Irish.

A panel of Derek Jameson, Peter Taylor, Warren Sillitoe and discussed the British media and coverage of Ireland, the Irish and the Troubles.

Patrick Cosgrave talked about his life in Ireland and Britain. The final guests of the evening were jockey JonJo O'Neill and football player Liam Brady.        

This Late Late Show London special was recorded at Ewart TV Studios in Wandsworth on the 5th March and the broadcast on 15th March.    

RTÉ Guide 21 March 1980
RTÉ Guide, 21 March 1980

RTÉ Guide, 4 April 1980 - Tales of the Late Late Show in London
RTÉ Guide, 4 April 1980 - Tales of the Late Late Show in London