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New Gay Byrne documentary looking for people's fondest memories of him

By Rory Cashin

January 14, 2021 at 3:26pm

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The documentary is set to air on RTÉ One later this year.

One of the most well known and most beloved Irish celebrities of all time, RTE have announced that there will be a brand new documentary focusing on Gay Byrne - aptly titled Dear Gay - which will bring together a series of stories based on letters sent into the presenter over the years he hosted shows on Irish radio and television.

Having passed away in November 2019 at the age of 85, Byrne is still best known for hosting The Late Late Show from 1962 to 1999, and with the show still going, it remains the second longest running late night talk show, behind only The Tonight Show on NBC, which kicked off in 1954.

He also hosted The Gay Byrne Show on RTE Radio 1 from 1973 to 1998, and also had another hit TV interview series, The Meaning of Life, which ran from 2009 to 2016.

Byrne has obviously been a part of plenty more besides, but across those multiple platforms and 60 years of broadcasting, thousands of letters were sent in to him his fans and show supporters, which will form the basis of the new documentary.

As per the press release on RTE:

"We know that there were people reunited after emigration and adoption as a result of letters to the radio show. People wrote letters to Gay sharing personal stories which they sometimes couldn’t even tell their best friends and family members, which lifted the lid on subjects such as domestic abuse, depression, alcoholism, divorce, abortion, forced adoptions, homosexuality, clerical and institutional abuse and more.

"Dear Gay is a new documentary for RTÉ One which aims to tell some of the stories behind those letters. And we need your help! If you, or someone you know, wrote to Gay’ radio or television show over those decades, and you have an interesting story to tell, we want to hear from you."

If you have sent Gay Byrne a letter over the years, or know someone who has, then head right here and share your story.

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