It is no exaggeration to call Gay Byrne a colossus of the Irish broadcasting world. Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, as host of both The Late Late Show and The Gay Byrne Show, he played a seminal role in the shift in Irish society and culture from the Church-dominated, fearful state of the early 1960s to the modern, multicultural Ireland of today.
Reviled and revered in equal measure, Byrne was ‘the great window-opener’ and a ‘media lay priest’ who shone a spotlight on some of the darkest and most taboo areas of Irish life. Using media articles, letters to Irish newspapers, recent studies of Irish culture, quotes from Byrne himself and a re-examination of his original broadcasts, The Gaybo Revolution explores how Byrne and his programmes provided a forum for popular debate and were catalysts for change in Irish life.
Examining controversies that shocked the nation, such as the Bishop and the Nightie affair, and the Ann Lovett letters, as well as seminal interviews with Annie Murphy, Pádraig Flynn, Gerry Adams and Terry Keane, Finola Doyle-O’Neill takes us on a journey through Ireland’s recent past. The Gaybo Revolution will appeal to anyone who is interested in the evolution of Irish society and culture in the late twentieth century.
A fantastic read which lays bare much of the journey not just one TV show took but an entire nation on a Saturday night. This is one book that should be 'one for everyone in the audience'.
Author Dr Finola Doyle-O’Neill is a broadcast historian with the School of History at UCC where she lectures in Ireland’s Film and Media History. She has contributed widely to public debates and conferences on Ireland’s media history, and was convenor of TV50, a collaboration between UCC and RTÉ celebrating 50 years of television in Ireland.