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The Den returns Ian Dempsey won't be on new series of The Den

Show's original presenter to miss return of The Den

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Ian Demspey on The Den with Zig and Zag.

Ian Demspey on The Den with Zig and Zag.

Ian Demspey on The Den with Zig and Zag.

Ian Dempsey will not be taking part in the new series of RTÉ's The Den because he works for a rival media organisation.

Tonight, the lovable puppets from planet Zog will return to Irish screens with Ray D'Arcy and Dustin.

The seven-part show aims to recreate the zany, fun-filled atmosphere of The Den which entertained children and parents in Ireland for years.

However, the Today FM DJ, who was the original presenter on Dempsey's Den, will not be making an appearance.

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Ray D’Arcy with the space cadets

Ray D’Arcy with the space cadets

Ray D’Arcy with the space cadets

"We would love that (to have Ian back for a cameo) and that would be really cool," Zag told the Sunday World. "But the thing is he is on the other side, he works for the opposition and RTÉ are very strange about that sort of thing. "

Following their triumphant reunion for RTÉ Does Comic Relief, D'Arcy and co will be back on RTÉ ONE every Sunday at 6.30pm from tonight in an hour-long extravaganza of shenanigans.

Initially it had been proposed that the show would be pre-recorded in order to allow for some international guests to Zoom in for each episode.

Dangerous

But Zig said there was no way they would take part unless it was "live and dangerous".

"It is basically The Den and very little is going to change, apart from Ray obviously, he has lost all his hair," Zig said.

"It is live and dangerous and we said the only way we were going to agree to do this was if it was live. If we did it and it was on tape RTÉ would just chop it up and make it stupid. I think Ray and Dustin like it that way as well."

RTÉ hopes to conjure anew the magic of The Den, which ran in various guises from 1986 to 2010 (by which time D'Arcy and Zig and Zag had long since departed).

And RTÉ stalwarts are queuing up to take part.

"Ryan Tubridy will be trying to get on, Pat O'Mahony has already been on," Zig said.

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"He has been ringing trying to get on. They are all knocking on our door trying to get in with us but we will see.

The new series will run for seven weeks and will include a Christmas finale that will be broadcast on December 20.

Expect the unexpected seems to be the motto from the two puppets who remember interviewing the controversial president of America Donald Trump back when they worked with Chris Evans and the Big Breakfast.

"The thing about Donald Trump is that when he met us first, he seemed to like illegal aliens, because really that's what we were. But now he doesn't like aliens at all.

"The more orange he has got the less tolerant he has got."

  • The Den will air on RTÉ ONE from tonight 6.30pm.

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