Vinny Hurrell: I've gone from being Stephen's sidekick to having my own show... it still seems a bit surreal
He is known to thousands of listeners as Stephen Nolan's long-suffering sidekick - but now Vinny Hurrell is branching out on his own.
At 32 years old, the Randalstown native tonight becomes one of the Radio Ulster's youngest presenters when he fronts his own show.
So far, he has earned his crust producing the self-professed 'biggest show in the country' for Nolan on weekday mornings.
Vinny is often heard being teased on-air by Nolan, but it seems the famously outspoken presenter has met his match.
Vinny told the Belfast Telegraph: "We've got to a point now where I can tell him he's being a pain, though he might not agree with me.
"Stephen said on air 'we'd a falling out'. I told him 'you're being a bit of an ass', but within 20 minutes it was sorted, which is better than not talking and letting it fester."
Vinny's most embarrassing moment came early in his Nolan Show career, when the conversation turned to tattoos.
"Stephen found out I have a tattoo on my thigh, but he said on-air he couldn't believe I had a tattoo on my crotch," Vinny said.
"My mum and sister were listening, and I think they nearly crashed the car. I'd never told my mum I had it, because she'd never see that one. It was a bit awkward initially, but mum was OK."
Dealing with a quick-witted host and real people on the Nolan Show means he is well-equipped to present The Vinny Show. The lively, late-night programme looks at real-life problems, from mental health to emigration, dating and everything in between. The first guest is 13-year-old Luke, who was bullied so badly he thought about taking his own life.
Vinny explained: "It's quite intense, but most of this came to a head when Luke was just 12. He talks about how he texted his mum to tell her he was having these thoughts, and she explains how it felt being at work an hour away when she found out. So much could have happened inside that hour."
For Vinny, stepping into his first major series has been a huge boost for someone whose career goal was always to work for the BBC.
He said: "The day I got my BBC staff pass was one of the proudest moments I've ever had. It's only a bit of plastic, but I'd worked so long for that.
"Sometimes I can't believe I've got my own show, it still seems surreal.
"I don't know what's next. I could annoy Stephen and say I'd love to take on the morning slot, from 9-10.30am, but I don't know if that's really what I do want."
With a busy working life, Vinny takes time to wind down by working out.
"I find if I go to the gym I usually sleep better that night, so it's therapeutic. I also like setting goals for myself."
Vinny Hurrell started working with the BBC in 2008, after returning from backpacking across Australia. He was "rescued" by the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster after short-term contracts with the BBC ended. Vinny previously presented The Clinic on Blast106, Belfast's community radio station. The format of The Vinny Show, starting at 10.15pm today and broadcast each Monday, is a departure from traditional evening programming on Radio Ulster, which usually focuses on music.