The full line-up for Ryan Tubridy’s final episode of The Late Late Show has been revealed.
The broadcaster is set to be replaced by Patrick Kielty for the 61st season of RTÉ flagship programme this September.
President Michael D. Higgins has invited Ryan to join him in Áras an Uachtaráin for their final Late Late Show interview together.
The President of Ireland will share his thoughts about where the nation is at, as we move on from the Centenary commemorations and why we must never forget the lessons of the past.
There will be a very special Late Late Toy Show reunion on Friday night, featuring some of the show’s favourite kids from over the years.
As he reminisces on the Toy Show magic one final time, viewers will be treated to a Toy Show performance which has been kept entirely under wraps from Ryan.
Meanwhile the greatest trad super-group ever will assemble to give Ryan a send-off that he will never forget.
The trad super-group includes Andrea Corr, John Sheahan (The Dubliners), Moya Brennan (Clannad), Steve Wickham (The Waterboys), Sharon Shannon, Andrew Hendy (The Mary Wallopers), Jim Lockhart (Horslips), Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames), Niamh Dunne (Beoga), Jim Higgins (The Stunning), Mike Hanrahan (Stockton’s Wing), Ciarán Owens (The Tumbling Paddies), Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (Aeons), Frankie Gavin (De Dannan), Maureen Codd (Cuckoos Nest), Shayan & Shahab Coohe (Nava), Debbie Byrne and Tara Howley.
Viewers will also be treated to a special performance by Cian Ducrot.
There will be many more familiar faces dropping into the studio to surprise Ryan.
Ahead of his final Late Late Show hosting gig, the broadcaster said: “Tomorrow night is going to be a night of endings for sure, but beginnings for definite. While I will be saying a lot of goodbyes for my last Late Late Show, it will also be a night of gratitude.”
Ryan continued: “Gratitude to all the people I have worked with and continue to work with and their families. And enormous gratitude to the guests, the artists, the singers, and the ‘doers’ who have come through the door and graced us with their presence.”
“And of course, my greatest gratitude to my family who have been so loving and patient and my greatest supporters. They are the ones to whom I dedicate my last show. They are my constant. I love them so much and I want them to know that.”
“I also want to say thank you to the viewers who stuck with me, with us and with the show for the past 14 years. The viewers’ loyalty, decency, kindness and generosity has taken my breath away on a weekly basis.”
“I sit looking at my desk this morning at about 300 or 400 cards and letters from people I don’t even know, that have come from all around Ireland and in some cases all around the world.”
“I am humbled, I am grateful, and I am excited because this is the end of one phase of this extraordinarily exciting life I have had so far. I will be turning the big 5-0 on Sunday so, it’s the perfect time to look ahead and welcome a new chapter.”
“Until I am ready to share that next chapter, I am going to take some time off, I will reflect and process it all. My final words about my final Late Late Show are ‘Thank You’.”
On Saturday, Patrick Kielty was announced as Ryan’s official replacement, following months of speculation.
Speaking on his RTÉ Radio 1 show on Monday, Ryan said: “I want to mention Patrick Kielty because he’s going to be the new presenter of the Late Late Show and I’m really, really happy about this choice, I have to say.”
“I said it before – I think I probably said it off-air – that I was very, very supportive of the suggestion that he might take over the show.”
“I just think he has, what they say in the business, the chops,” he continued.
“He can cover the heavy side of things and he’s got a background that will inform that, and he will also obviously do the lighter end of things with great skill because he’s a comedian, he’s a funny guy. He’s also, any time I’ve met him, a really lovely fella with it.”
“So I want to wish him, I really want to wish him, the very, very best of luck. I think he’ll do a great Toy Show as well because he’ll be well able for it as the Da to young kids and with a great whip-smart sense of humour. He’ll be all over it.”
“So I just think the show is going to be in really safe hands. He’ll get himself backed up with a great team, which no doubt he will be. He’ll be fine. It’ll be great. I’m just happy.”
“I mean, it’s not really my thing to be talking about anymore necessarily in any big way because I’m the other, well, nearly, the ex-guy,” Ryan said.
“But I just want to put some wind in his sails as he heads forth on this extraordinary odyssey. And good luck. Good guy and a good future ahead for the Late Late Show. Great decision all round. Wishing everyone great happiness and great success.”
Ahead of his final Late Late Show this Friday, the broadcaster admitted his last episode will be “emotional” after 14 years at the helm.