Audience boss for Late Late “shambles” says delays caused by safety fears

late late show returning london
Host Ryan Tubridy

The Managing Director of the company blamed by RTE for its London Late Late Show fiasco has told the Irish World it had to act swiftly to prevent crowds swarming around the show’s presenter causing a health and safety disaster.

He said there were three issues on the night – the many hundreds who turned up hoping to get in when industry practices are to overbook to make up for no-shows, the delays in getting people in which he said were because of health and safety measures caused invoked as a large group rushed the front door, and the show’s content – which has absolutely nothing to do with his company.

MD of Applause Store, Mathew Firsht, who has been in TV production for 28 years and with his audience management company since 2001, said unscheduled appearances by presenter Ryan Tubridy at the entrance to Methodist Central Hall – to sign autographs and pose for selfies – caused a huge swell forward by hundreds of people waiting outside to get into the show and we could not start loading the audience.

“The only other time we experienced something like that was with One Direction
when they were on The X Factor in 2010,” Mr Firsht told the
Irish World.

“The host came out twice, the first time was ok because there just weren’t that many people there, but the second time was very different, it turned from audience management to a health and safety matter and we had to go into a different gear as people were not listening to our people.

“It was not how we wanted it to be, but we had to make decisions with a hundred people crowded around the door trying to go in.

“The team had to work in an entirely different mode to make sure everyone was safe,” said the Applause Store boss whose company handles big UK network shows like The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

“It seemed chaotic outside, but it was managed and controlled in the best way possible way,” said Mr Firsht.

Late Late show London crowds
An Audience Store staff member shouting at the crowds

“We handle a thousand shows, like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent and are the only people with these contracts, we take immense pride in them, they are all major blue-chip productions.

“We are obviously very upset that we upset people. I’ve been in TV for 28 years and have known about the Late, Late show for many years so when we were asked to handle their London show we were very flattered and very honoured.

“This has been one of those unfortunate things that happened, and if I could turn back time I would but people’s health and safety had to take priority.

“And for those people who were turned away we always made very clear that their tickets alone did not guarantee admission, that is how we do it here – it is standard in the industry.

“We totally understand the frustration people had about getting in and about tickets, we get it, none of us could deny it, there was a lot of angry people but nearly 1200 people did get into that building.

“Of course, the people we hear from are those who are understandably disappointed about being turned away, we hear from very few of those who did get in saying ‘thank you, we had a great night’.”

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