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All the best: Gerry Kelly discusses his favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

Published 11/04/2016

Proud dad: Gerry Kelly
Proud dad: Gerry Kelly

The broadcaster – over 60 – lives near Ardglass with his wife Helena. They have two grown-up daughters, Sarah and Claire.

My best moment

It’s hard to pick one best moment but professionally speaking I will never forget the Kelly Show we did on George Best not long before he died. We had a specially-invited audience made up of fellow sports stars with friends from all over Ireland and the UK. Also there, as a fan, was Van Morrison who sang four songs. In the 17-year history of the Kelly Show it was the most watched programme with more than 370,000 people tuning in. I remember thinking how privileged I was to host a show involving two of the world’s greatest entertainers. As a chat show host, nights like that are a dream come true.

My best song

There’s a choice of a million here but the one I’ve hung on to for many years is A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum. It reminds me of the mid-Sixties when I was a teenager and was the keyboard player in a group called The Outer Limits. That song has a big keyboard background and I played it back when I was trying to be a rock star.

My best way to relax

I love a game of golf and have been a member of Ardglass Golf Club for 40 years. The other thing I do to relax is colour. I got a colouring in book for Christmas and I love it — I could spend hours colouring in. I really enjoy it as it takes your mind away from everything.

My best bit of advice

No one has ever given me advice in my life — apart from the golf pro telling me to turn my shoulder when I swing my club. The only one I’ve heard that I liked came from Muhammad Ali and he said there’s no shame in being knocked down — the shame is not getting back up again. If I’m talking to young people, that’s the kind of philosophy I would give to them.

My best job

I’ve been doing it for the last 40 years — I love broadcasting and began my career in 1976. I did the Kelly Show on UTV for 18 years and have worked between UTV and the BBC. I was originally a teacher and then lectured in St Mary’s Teacher Training College for two years.

My best achievement

Being a father. I loved fatherhood and now I’m a grandfather I love that every bit as much. I have two grandchildren — Bronwyn is three and Tag is five months old. I think the great achievement is that our family is so close — both of my daughters live in Dublin but we’re in contact on a daily basis. The older I get the more I appreciate that as the achievement.

My best gift

I went to Manchester University and my sister bought me a car. It was a second-hand Vauxhall Victor that cost £25 — which was a huge amount of money in those days. It was a rust bucket that got me from here to Manchester and as I was driving to college on the first day I was stopped by the police and fined for three defective tyres and no exhaust system. The fine was equivalent to my grant for the entire first term. I left the car in the college car park and never went back for it — it could still be there for all I know. I think it was months before I managed to tell my sister.

My best buy

The one I get the most enjoyment from is my Kindle. I do love books and love handling books, but I’ve got so into the Kindle because it’s so handy — you can take it anywhere.  You can’t replace actual books, but if I like a book then I’ll also order it on Kindle. There are about 300 books on mine now.

My best book

My favourite book could again be one of hundreds but this is a particular favourite. I knew Brian Keenan before he was kidnapped in Lebanon and we had regular updates on the Kelly Show. The day he was released I went down to Dublin to his Press conference and he appeared on the show to a standing ovation the next Friday. His book, An Evil Cradling, is one of the most fascinating and insightful books I’ve ever read. The way he interpreted what happened to him is just fantastic

My best film

I’m afraid I’m a sucker for It’s A Wonderful Life and I watch it twice a year. I’m not hugely into movies but I do like the old stuff. I don’t go to the cinema much these days unless it’s for a really big blockbuster

Belfast Telegraph

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