Graham Norton has revealed he shed a tear upon hearing the news that broadcasting legend Gay Byrne had passed away.
Irish treasure Byrne died on Monday after a long battle with cancer. The news deeply saddened people a of all ages and many have comforted each other by sharing their favourite stories from Byrne’s career.
Chat-king Graham Norton has spoken about his own sense of loss, and how he has felt detached from the country’s mourning because he is based in the UK.
Norton told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny: “I’m so glad to talk to you because it is so hard to be in the UK on a day like today.
“I so wish I was back in Ireland, where, yet again he has joined the nation and the whole country has come together to talk about Gay and the memories of him.
“It’s odd for me because I’ve met him a few times, but I didn’t know him.
“The tears I shed yesterday when I heard he had gone, it’s odd. You feel like is this maudlin or fake tears or what is it?
“But it is a genuine grief and I think a lot of people will be feeling it.
“It’s hard to explain because you didn’t really know this man but he was an incredibly important part.
“And he symbolised a lot for people growing up. That idea of people being visible for the first time.
“People you’ve never seen before and put them on and talked to them and gave them a voice.”
Norton described what an inspiration Byrne was to him as a young, up-and-coming presenter, and how it was a dream come true when he was first invited onto the Late Late Show.
Speaking to fellow chat host Ryan Tubridy, Norton said: “There aren’t many moments in your life when you feel ‘this is it, I’ve made it’, but to be on the Late Late.
“It meant so much to my Dad, he wasn’t well at the time, but he made it up to Dublin to be in the audience and it was very special.
“It was towards the end of Gaybo’s tenure. It was me and Terry Wogan and Gay, both of them were so nice to me.
“I had been doing my show for maybe two years but they both talked to me as if we all did the same job. There was no talking down to me. They weren’t patronising.
“Afterwards we went into the Green Room and Gay was still the host.
“Making sure everyone had a drink. It felt like the place to be. I remember thinking to myself ‘I must stay like this, I mustn’t get jaded. I mustn’t get tired. I must stay interested in the way that this man is’.”
Here is a YouTube clip of that very meeting between Byrne and Norton on the Late Late Show, with fellow chat legend Terry Wogan also in attendance. Enjoy the trip down memory lane.