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'Slim pickings' Deirdre O'Kane says giving women top telly jobs is no laughing matter

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Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O’Kane says it is about time that women were given prime-time slots in entertainment television. 

Tonight RTÉ debut episode one of the comic’s new long form interview show, taking over the slot once held by Ray D’Arcy and Brendan O'Connor.

And the former Dancing With The Stars contestant believes that she is at the right place in her life and career to appreciate such a gig.

“Oh God yes, it’s time, (for more women to be given bigger slots) it’s a big time,” she told the Sunday World.

“And it feels like I'm the first even though I know there have been others...but I don’t think there’s been many prime-time slots given over to women in entertainment.

“There’s been a lot of it in current affairs and stuff, for a long time.

“But I think on my end, in entertainment, it’s been slim pickings. There hasn’t been loads for us.

“Yeah, I am delighted and I'm delighted that it’s now and I'm the age that I am.

“I don’t really feel that I would have been ready or maybe as good as I’m hoping I’m going to be now, with life lived and all that.

“The show came about very quickly.

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Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O'Kane

“I was offered it almost overnight but it was presented to me as a long-form interview which is something that I love.

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“And I don’t think we’ve had a lot of it, had a lot of Late Late Shows and talk shows, where guests are on for 15, 20 minutes and they’re selling whatever particular project they’re promoting at that time.

“This is much more long-form so much more in depth.”

Deirdre’s first episode tonight will feature former D’Unbelievables comic Pat Shortt

Getting up close and personal, Deirdre and Pat reminisce over career highlights and share personal experiences and memories

The style of the show will follow the likes of Piers Morgan or Michael Parkinson and will focus on one guest from the world of showbiz each week.

But the host insists that she is trying to do her own thing, rather than to imitate other chat show hosts.

“I wouldn't compare myself to Michael Parkinson, no,” she said.

“It's definitely more conversation than interview and what I’m hoping I can bring to it is that I certainly have experience in a lot of what they’ve experienced.

“In terms of the content I want to investigate what makes people funny and where that comes from; is that part of the conditions of your upbringing, your parents, their impact, all of that.

“It does genuinely interest me.

“Lots of people are funny but not a lot of people are funny for a living.

“I'm not just talking to comedians, talking to actors and comedians and presenters and people that have a wit in them.”

Deirdre O’ Kane Talks Funny kicks off tonight at 9.10pm on RTÉ One.

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