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New UTV archive series takes a look back at ‘The Kelly Show’

Gerry Kelly at UTV Studios

Gerry Kelly


A new series is coming to UTV. ‘The Kelly Years’ takes a look back at the most memorable moments of one of UTV’s most popular programmes, The Kelly Show, drawing on the broadcaster’s rich archive material, with behind the scenes stories from the man himself, Gerry Kelly.


The Kelly Show was a 90-minute Friday night chat show, which ran on UTV from 1989-2005.


Over those sixteen plus years he interviewed hundreds of the biggest names in show business, film and television, music, sport and politics, as well as up and coming stars who got their first big break on ‘The Kelly Show’.



And, as well as seeing some of the most memorable clips from the programmes, Gerry Kelly himself will share his personal memories of those programmes – the audiences, the phone-in quizzes,  and most importantly those interviews which brought joy, sadness and in some cases huge embarrassment!


In the first programme, Gerry reflects on the popularity of ‘The Kelly Show’ at the time, “It was a privilege to be a chat show host in Northern Ireland for 16 years – it was a tremendous opportunity. I had a ball – at the time I didn’t realise I was having such a good time! Kelly was a success - as it was about us in Northern Ireland.”



Gerry interviews manager of Dublin group Boyzone

Gerry interviews manager of Dublin group Boyzone


Boybands were always a hit on the programmes and the first clip we see is a very young Dublin group called Boyzone, with Gerry interviewing them and their manager Louis Walsh. Louis had big ambitions for the band but Gerry wasn’t too convinced at the time!


And Gerry also cringes about an interview when a very young Jamie Dornan appeared on the programme having won a modelling competition, and he asked him to stand up and do a twirl. 


Gerry says, “I’m sure Jamie’s mortified at that - imagine asking Jamie Dornan to do a twirl for me?!”



Jamie Dornan appeared on the programme having won a modelling competition

Jamie Dornan appeared on the programme having won a modelling competition


Gerry shares how the now famous clip of a young Rory McIlroy chipping golf balls into the washing machine came about after a chance conversation with his mum and dad. 


Rory was nine at the time and had just won a world championship in Miami. Gerry wisely tells the audience, “Remember the name, Rory McIlroy” saying “he went on and on until he became the best golfer in the world.”


And staying with our sporting legends, we’ll see clips of interviews with motorcycle legends Robert and Joey Dunlop, snooker world champion Alex Higgins, and former Man Utd goalkeeper Harry Gregg OBE. 



We also see a clip of one of the first interviews of two of Northern Ireland’s most seasoned actors Adrian Dunbar and Jimmy Nesbitt, just as they were starting out on their careers.


And in further episodes, we’ll hear of Gerry’s great friendships with stars like Michael Flatley, and Garth Brooks, as well as how he had to brush up on all the soaps’ storylines, and how the programme helps dispel myths about the darker side of Northern Ireland in the ‘90s.


A young Rory McIlroy talks with Gerry Kelly.

A young Rory McIlroy talks with Gerry Kelly.

A young Rory McIlroy talks with Gerry Kelly.

Gerry Kelly said, “I was absolutely delighted to be asked to do this series. The archive in itself tells an amazing story and will no doubt jog memories of not only the 100s of programmes we made, but also the stars of the day and the future who graced the sofa in Studio 1 at Havelock House. Some of those people are sadly no longer with us which makes the show and the interviews such an important part of our local history and heritage.”


The episodes were produced by Cara McGimpsey and the Series Producer was Alison Fleming, who also narrates. Alison said, “I was just starting out as a young reporter at UTV in the late ‘90s and I have memories of the real buzz in the building on Kelly Show days. It was pure joy to pick through our archive, almost 20 years later, and speak to Gerry about these most memorable moments.”  



Tony Curry, UTV's Editor of Programmes, said, “This series will be a lovely trip down memory lane for many of the viewers. I’d also encourage our younger audience to watch too, to see how much of our home-grown talent started out, and also to see what Northern Ireland was really like back then through the eyes of the celebrities.”


Sponsored by Stairlift Solutions, ‘The Kelly Years’ starts this Thursday 25th April at 8.30pm on UTV, and runs for four weeks.


You can catch up afterwards on ITVX. Simply select ‘Categories, then News, select UTV as your region from the boxes and scroll across to find the episode.



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