RTÉ has defended the amount of alcohol served to the audience, saying it was the same as normal
RTÉ’s now annual Valentine’s Day Late Late Show may have proven a hit on social media, but divided home audiences, with the state broadcaster receiving 176 calls and 120 emails with negative feedback. A number of formal complaints have also been filed.
The Ryan Tubridy-presented show was marked by a rowdy audience, with members of the crowd invited to attend the RTÉ campus for hours before the 9.35pm start time, where they were served alcohol.
Those in attendance were then treated to panel interviews, a Blind Date segment, sex advice, and a performance by Crystal Swing. Throughout the night, a so-called ‘Shift Cam’ worked its way around the audience, encouraging the featured pairs to lock lips for the viewing public. Ryan Tubridy also announced a ‘one-for-everybody-in-the-audience’ hamper, filled with condoms and lubricant.
An RTÉ spokesperson has confirmed that the national broadcaster will respond to the more than 300 complaints within the next 20 days, a procedure established under the Broadcasting Act 2009.
Ryan Tubridy declared himself the “nation’s wingman” on the night, which saw The Late Late Show attempt to set up some of its 200 single men and women in the audience.
While viewers at home remarked upon the spirited nature of the studio audience, far livelier than the typical one, RTÉ press office said that the amount of alcohol served to the audience was the same as usual.
Speaking to Newstalk, an RTÉ spokesman did confirm that audience members for the Valentine's Special were invited to be at the Donnybrook studios earlier than usual, though the broadcaster claims this was to rehearse and partially pre-record the show's opening number.
"Refreshments were not provided before or during rehearsals," Gareth Naughton said.
“As is usual, light refreshments, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, were provided for the audience," he said, adding that the audience had also been served food at the event.