An­chor­man Aen­gus to quit RTE news­room af­ter 30 years

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - NEWS - Ni­amh Ho­ran

IRE­LAND’S favourite an­chor­man, whose fa­mous on-screen per­sonal groom­ing session earned him world­wide fame, is to leave RTE.

Aen­gus Mac Gri­anna, who has brought us some of the defin­ing news sto­ries of the past 30 years, is the most high-pro­file name yet to take the vol­un­tary re­dun­dancy pack­age of­fered by Mon­trose bosses which reached its dead­line last Fri­day.

Speak­ing to the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent, Mr Mac Gri­anna said his de­par­ture was in no way linked to the an­nounce­ment of two new co-pre­sen­ters who will take over from Sharon Ni Bhe­o­lain and Bryan Dob­son on the Six One bul­letin.

“I told man­age­ment over six months ago of my de­ci­sion so this was de­cided long be­fore any of the changes. I’ve had 30 won­der­ful years at RTE but it is time for a change,” he said.

And, al­though he will no longer be in the spot­light, Mr Mac Gri­anna is adamant he is not yet ready to re­tire to the quiet life of the al­paca farm he shares with hus­band Terry Gill in Co Meath.

“It’s a bit like that book The Al­chemist. I re-read it again re­cently and I am fol­low­ing my per­sonal leg­end, as the book would say. I haven’t fully mapped out where I want to go but I know that I’ll even­tu­ally get wher­ever that is meant to be.

“My ul­ti­mate dream is to keep learn­ing and to ex­plore and dis­cover new things. I am open to the idea of go­ing back to univer­sity and I will keep all my op­tions open — from ar­chi­tec­ture to ar­chae­ol­ogy.”

Mr Mac Gri­anna started his news­room ca­reer as a sub-ed­i­tor and then moved into re­port­ing, be­fore work­ing his way up to be­come a full­time news­caster.

Al­though there have been many high­lights over a long ca­reer noted, his most fa­mous mo­ment came when, while un­aware the cam­eras were rolling, he was caught ap­ply­ing foun­da­tion to his fore­head. As he pro­ceeded to pick a piece of lint from his cuff, the slow, ter­ri­fy­ing re­al­i­sa­tion dawned on him that his per­sonal groom­ing was go­ing out live to the na­tion.

Mr Mac Gri­anna gasped in hor­ror, be­fore the cam­eras were abruptly cut.

Af­ter­wards, the Dubliner took it in good spir­its, say­ing: “I saw the fun in it. You have to laugh at your­self as well, I think that’s im­por­tant.”

The video went on to be­come a vi­ral hit, rack­ing up over half-a-mil­lion views and even fea­tur­ing on the US show Jimmy Kim­mel Live! in a seg­ment en­ti­tled ‘‘ex­cel­lence in re­port­ing’’. It also earned him the moniker ‘Blooper King’.

eBay also used the clip, as part of an ad for its sale sea­son. Mr Mac Gri­anna can be seen fix­ing his tie as the nar­ra­tor asks: “You thought you got a prime deal but did you check eBay?” at which point Aen­gus shouts: “What?”

More than 200 staff are to leave RTE within the com­ing months as part of a bid to re­duce the broad­caster’s work­force. The num­ber leav­ing is sig­nif­i­cantly less than the 350 hoped for by sta­tion bosses.

Mr Mac Gri­anna will con­tinue to de­liver the news on RTE un­til early next year.

AND FI­NALLY: De­part­ing RTE news­reader Aen­gus Mac Gri­anna

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