PATRICK Kielty not only made a fantastic impression when he debuted as The Late Late Show new host on RTE on Friday night, he also made a pretty impressive indent in his local bar’s takings! The star ended up costing his local, The Dundrum Inn, in his home village, nearly £600 in free drinks – with proprietor, Phil Patterson, already dreading the end of month stock-take!
The bar, which the show cut to live, promised punters a free tipple every time the comedian mentioned the name of the village on his first outing as Ryan Tubridy’s replacement. And, after teasing patrons several times, a mischievous Patrick gave detailed descriptions of the village, but no mention of the name, but eventually reeled off a dozen mentions of “Dundrum”, setting the pub alive, and leaving Phil to foot a bar tab of £588.65p for at least 124 pints and tray-loads of shots.
The bar was packed to capacity for the launch event, with the TV drowned out by the many punters who were willing Kielty on to mention his own village. He kept saying ‘County Down’, because he knew about the bar’s offer, but once he uttered ‘Dundrum’ for the first time, the atmosphere inside was beyond electric! Delighted to see the local man’s success with his latest TV contract, among those in the bar were members of his extended family, including nieces, who watched as he interviewed guests such as former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, comedian Tommy Tiernan and footballer James McClean. In an emotional opening to the show, Kielty described hosting the chat show as “truly the honour of a lifetime”.
Welling up in RTÉ’s Studio 4, he said his family were “watching the show from County Down” and further afield. Earlier, he had said the show would have an all-Ireland flavour as a by-product of his Northern Ireland upbringing. The comedian and entertainer has become the fourth permanent presenter of the world’s longestrunning live chat show, which is seen as an Irish institution, having started only months after the 1962 launch of Irish TV. Kielty started out at a Belfast comedy club and has presented Love Island, This Morning and BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz as well as other comedy and theatre shows. He is married to presenter Cat Deeley. He has had to wait several months for his debut, with the announcement that he was to become the new presenter having been made in May.
A post on The Dundrum Inn’s Facebook page in the wake of the launch show party thanked everyone for being there. ‘What a night we had in Dundrum,’ it read. ‘Fair play to the owners Sarah and Phil for coming up with the idea. Thank you all for being such good sports, we are not normally that grumpy on a Friday night, The Late Late Show wanted us all looking glum due to lack of free drinks. But you sure made up for it when Paddy went on to say the magic word ‘Dundrum’ 12 times and the drinks were flowing.’ The post added: ‘Great pubs do have a place in your community, we all need a good local to celebrate, commiserate and laugh in, please go out and support your local pub, wherever that may be, they need you now more than ever. ‘Cheers to the man of the hour Patrick Kielty for trusting us, you have made the village proud and definitely put Dundrum in the minds of many.’
Patrick called into the bar the following day, and Phil said it was lovely to see him relaxed, especially after the big build-up to the new season’s launch. He added “it was so very humbling to see so many people come out” to show their support on Friday, and said “there is such a warmth about the village” for the performer in his local community. “What was even more special was that when Paddy came into the bar on Saturday, he was treated just like one of the local boys, and he appreciates that.
It was a case of from superstardom to being a normal person, but in a really nice way,” he told the Mourne Observer. He added that he “lost count” of the number of trays of shots that were served out. “I dread what the monthly stock-take will uncover, but it was worth it. We are a part of this community, and so is Paddy, and we were there to show our support and say just how proud we are of him,” he added. Figures released on Monday confirmed that nearly one million tuned in for the Dundrum man’s Late Late debut.
The Irish broadcaster said a peak audience of 934,000 people tuned in for the first show of the season last Friday night; an average viewership of 830,000 watched on RTÉ One and RTÉ One +1 to see Patrick Kielty begin his stint as the new presenter of the chat show. The programme also received 158,000 streams on RTÉ Player – making it the strongest ever Late Late Show season opener yet on the platform – while social media videos from the show have amassed 7.6 million views to date.