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08 Apr 2010 | By Aileen Moon

Craig Doyle
A brand new chat show series ‘Tonight with Craig Doyle’ begins on RTÉ, Saturday, April 10th and will run for eight weeks. IFTN caught up with the show’s host to talk about La Toya Jackson, out of body experiences and why he’s different to every other talk show host around.

The first installment of 'Tonight with Craig Doyle' sees the charming Dubliner talk with an eclectic mix of guests including singer/actress La Toya Jackson, music mogul Louis Walsh plus Irish actress and host of the recent IFTA Awards, Victoria Smurfit.

The eight week series is tipped to be an exciting mix of music, comedy and chat - with guest stars drawn from the domestic and international scene. Across the course of the series Doyle is set to chat with everyone from sporting heroes to pop goddesses, national treasures to movie stars, with the aim of the show always being unashamedly feel-good and funny.

IFTN caught up with host Craig Doyle to find out what viewers can expect from his new series:

IFTN: Craig, you filmed the show yesterday (Wednesday, April 7th). How nervous were you, on a scale of 1 to 10?
Craig Doyle (CD): I would say about 11!! It was more anxiety than nerves really. There were a few minutes of “Oh God, Oh God!”...

IFTN: Does fronting your own talk show mean you have officially 'Arrived'?
CD: Having a successful talk show does and I'm not there yet.

On Irish TV alone we have and have had talk show hosts like Ryan Tubridy, Brendan O'Connor and Pat Kenny. Is there pressure to be very different to all of those in your presenting style?
CD: No, because I am. And I don't think that's any accident, I think RTÉ have been quite deliberate in making sure they have quite different characters involved with these things. Which, I think, eases pressure because you think 'Oh, I just have to be myself', which does however bring on a whole other different kind of pressure because on TV you're always playing the role of the show you're involved in, but with chat shows you just have to say “This is me, like it or lump it.”

Did it ever feel a bit surreal when filming the show yesterday?
CD: Yes, I'd a weird moment when La Toya Jackson was talking about Michael Jackson's death and she was coming out with some unbelievable stuff and I thought 'This is bizarre that I'm in this position.' It was a nice experience, I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

You're a veteran talk show interviewee – Richard and Judy, Graham Norton etc. Did you ever pick up any helpful hints from any of those hosts?
CD: I have done every single talk show in the last fifteen years, honestly! I've never picked up a hint from being on a show which is weird, maybe I should have concentrated a bit more!

How do you feel now that the first show is done?
CD: I'm relieved, hugely relieved – not that's it's done – but that the interviews were good. They were interesting, they were gripping at times and they were funny. I'm glad they were funny – it's very important that Saturday night's are funny because it compliments the Friday night that deals with a lot of serious issues along with entertainment whereas Saturday has to be pure fun. That said the La Toya Jackson stuff is fairly hard core and serious, as you might expect.

'Tonight with Craig Doyle' is produced by Waddell Media for RTÉ. The show is directed by John FD Northover (Have I Got News for You?) and the series producer is Zoe Tait (Screenwipe).

The executive producer for the series Anne Marie Thorogood (Whose Line is it Anyway?), Jannine Waddell (Car Hunt), David Cumming (TV's Greatest Car) and the show's editor is Michael Crilly (Blamm! Blamm!)

'Tonight with Craig Doyle' starts on Saturday, April 10th at 9.50pm on RTÉ1.

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