RTÉ has a long and proud history of news reporters committing mild gaffes on air. However, since the departure of the beloved Aengus MacGrianna from the newsroom, the number of these seems to have precipitously fallen somewhat.
However last night's Six-One News had all the ingredients for a disastrous news calamity. It had an earnest news presenter in the form of Sharon Ní Bheoláin, it had the imminent introduction of a report detailing the closure of one of Ireland's largest livestock market in Laois, and it had an overly zealous and intrusive fly. In the midst of such a perfect storm, it seemed inevitable that we were about to be treated to a piece of television that would fast become a staple of any 'newsreader gaffes' YouTube highights reel.
Though, it was not to be.
Instead, Sharon Ní Bheoláin handed the incident with consummate professionalism, barely breaking stride in her auto-cue reading while she attempted to swat the fly away.
— Elaine Egan (@ElaineEgan_) January 10, 2019
And while her handling of the situation is undoubtedly impressive, it is impossible to watch without being tinged with sadness. Sadness at the fact that she does handle it so well, at the thought that maybe, with MacGrianna's recent departure from the newsroom, there is no one there suitable to take up the mantle of being the newsreader who provides us with embarrassing outtakes.
We can only imagine what MacGrianna would've done if it was he, and not Sharon Ní Bheoláin that this fly had targeted. He would've erupted into a blizzard of flailing limbs, sending sheets of paper careening off his desk, errant mugs of water and tea sailing through the air. He would've wildly swatted at the fly, pure terror etched deeply onto his distraught face, all thought of informing the nation about the closure of one of Ireland's largest livestock markets forgotten. Panicked interns and producers would've barreled onto the set to try subdue the panicked host, while RTÉ security frantically pursued the fly demanding to see its access-pass that allowed it to be in a studio that was broadcasting live. The carnage would've provided enough footage so that the producers of Reeling In The Years 2019 could've taken the next 12 months off.
Instead, Sharon handled the situation expertly, and more power to her.
NOTE: Having watched the footage again, her composure is even more remarkable given that the fly actually LANDED ON HER FACE AND THEN EYEBALL. Heinous stuff.