By David Hennessy
Sean Moncrieff is bringing his hugely popular Movies and Booze Roadshow to London this Friday when Newstalk 106-108 will be broadcasting live in front of an audience at the Crown Moran Hotel in Cricklewood. Although Sean has been bringing his afternoon show around Ireland for years, this will be its first trip overseas with comedian Andrew Maxwell among the guests.
“I’m looking forward to it greatly, it will be fantastic, the presenter tells The Irish World. Sean’s television credits include presenting Good Grief Moncrieff! and Don’t Feed the Gondolas for RTE and this London visit marks a return to the city where his journalism career started, first writing for Broadcast magazine and then as a researcher for Channel 4 and scriptwriter and presenter fro BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and also where he was born.
“When we’re doing the show in Cricklewood, the first house I ever lived in is in Melrose Avenue which is five minutes walk from there, so I seem to have come full circle. Like most Irish people at this stage of the game, I have a lot of friends I’m going to be seeing there and I think most of the team who will be coming over will have friends coming to it as well so there will be a nice buzz about it. It seems like a natural extension, we’ve been doing these shows once a month around Ireland for some years now so it’s a natural extension to bring it to London as well.”
Asked to describe his 1.30pm- 4.30pm show for those who may not have heard it, Sean explains: “It’s a very eclectic programme. We have a general policy of doing intelligent subjects in a stupid way and stupid subjects in an intelligent way and they balance each other out. Generally speaking, the hope is that if someone is listening to it, they might laugh a couple of times and that they go home to their partner or their mother or whoever and say: ‘Do you know what I heard on the radio today?’ Which hopefully is something that they haven’t heard on the before.
“The Friday show is a particular sort of beast because for the last hour of a Friday show we do a thing called Movies and Booze where we have a film reviewer and a wine expert. The way it will work in the Crown Moran with the audience is that we will firstly have a glass of wine and the wine expert talks about it and all the audience will have that glass of wine as well, and then we do the film and then we have a glass of wine. It’s great, interactive and everybody’s taking part in that and then they get a goody bag afterwards with various bits: We’re hoping to have bags of taytos for them when they arrive.”
The internet now allows huge numbers to listen to Sean’s radio show from London and Friday provides a chance for many to get involved: “Interestingly enough, online it’s much easier to give you an absolute figure on how many people are listening. If Newstalk just took the online listenership, Dublin would be the biggest city, London’s the second biggest city. Usually in Ireland we say ‘text in for tickets’ and obviously people in London can’t do that, we’ve been saying ‘email in’ and the response has been fantastic. We’re very gratified about that.”
This is the Movies and Booze Roadshow’s first time in the UK, could it travel abroad again and possibly to other UK cities? “Well we’re going to take it one step at a time but it would be nice to do it in other UK cities. It would be nice to do one in New York if we could set it up. Obviously budgets are fairly tight in everything but in radio especially so it’s a matter of what we can afford or what sponsors we can get to help us out doing it but certainly we would love to do more of them.”
Andrew Maxwell is set to take part and those attending should expect to see other big names: “At this stage of the game, the line-up is looking very good. There are (other big name guests) but I don’t want to say yet because often times someone’s booked and then they pull out and so I don’t want to be making rash promises.”
The recent achievements of London’s footballers has seen them featuring in Irish media: “It might be something we mention during the show and it’s fantastic for them. It’s a very happy story for them in one way. It’s also though, I suppose, the other side of that is it just shows the degree to which emigration has taken a hit: So many talented players have moved out of the country.”
Sean has written three books so far, Dublin, Stark Raving Rulers: twenty minor despots of the twenty-first century and The Angel of the Streetlamps. The Irish World asks if he is currently working on another one? “I’m always working on another one. I’ve knocked out three so far and I’m struggling through number four but those things take a long time. Depending on the day you talk to me, it’s either a masterpiece or a total piece of crap.”
Sean Moncrieff and Newstalk will be broadcasting from The Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood from 1.30pm on Friday June 7. Audience numbers are limited so if you would like to be there please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to: http://www.newstalk.ie/.