Legends one and all, here are the people who stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of Ireland’s contribution to TV.
A man of many talents, Frank Hall was a broadcaster, journalist and film censor. Best known for introducing satire to Irish television with the seminal Hall’s Pictorial Weekly, a show on the national broadcaster, taking the mickey out of the government, and anyone else who took Hall’s fancy.
The grandaddy of Irish TV and no mistake. For nearly 40 years, Uncle Gaybo ruled, presenting The Late Late Show. Much more than an entertainment programme, The Late Late was hugely instrumental in breaking down barriers in Irish society, while also offering great debates on a variety of subjects and a wealth of international guests.
He first established himself on TV playing Father Trendy on the then hugely popular The Live Mike, hosted by Mike Murphy, before moving into radio where he became involved in the groundbreaking satire, Scrap Saturday. But Morgan is best known and loved for his role as Father Ted Crilly in the legendary Channel 4 sitcom, Father Ted.
After starting on radio, Andrews was instrumental in setting up RTÉ Television and went on to become a household name here and in Britain as the presenter of shows such as What’s My Line? and World of Sport. He’s best remembered as hosting the hugely popular This is Your Life series.
Beginning his TV career hosting popular game show Jackpot on RTÉ, Terry Wogan went on to establish himself on British TV with shows such as Blankety Blank, Wogan and for many years was the voice of the BBC while covering the Eurovision Song Contest, while also enjoying a hugely successful radio career.
Éamon de Buitléar
Comparisons are often odious, but it’s fair to say that de Buitléar is Ireland’s David Attenborough, because of his huge influence on Irish wildlife programming. Still involved in the industry, he’s most fondly remembered for the seminal Amuigh Faoin Spéir, which also featured the talents of Gerrit van Gelderen.
It may be difficult to appreciate the impact The Riordans had on an Irish audience during the rural soap’s 15-year run on RTÉ TV, but it was enormous. Many great talents were involved in the show – not least writer Wesley Burrows – but John Cowley stood tall as Tom Riordan, the legendary patriarch of the family.