John Creedon: I'm with Marshall McLuhan – TV is not something to watch, it's something to be on

John Creedon (61) presents the evening show on RTÉ Radio One from Monday to Friday at 8pm. His TV series Creedon's Atlas of Ireland airs in October on RTÉ One

Corkman John Creedon presents The John Creedon Show, weekdays at 8pm on RTÉ Radio One
Jane Hardy

How do you unwind at the weekend?

For the most part, whether the weather is good or poor I can be found tramping the hills of Kerry and west Cork. I'm not a mountaineer but I love to get into the wilderness. It's my unthinking time, about disappearing into nature and quietening the inner conversation. A notion or idea might pop into the head, though; I've written a lot of comedy for RTÉ over the years. The brightest spells were with the Gerry Ryan Show in the 90s. I created this high-camp hairdresser called Terence from Cork who lived with his mam and rode a moped with stabilisers.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

My parents had a corner shop in Cork city selling everything from grocery to cigarettes, which opened at 6am and closed at 1am. We were across the road from a dance hall. I was number 10 of 12 children and we all helped out. Weekends were slightly busier and there was a rush after Mass for the papers. The shop became my first stage when I was around six or seven and had to deal with teenage girls. You'd blush or answer back and pick up loads of skills.

Friday night or Saturday night?

Saturday night really, as it's the night off after doing my radio show. I sometimes go to a bar and call in for a pint on my own, poor old Johnny no-mates on the stool surrounded by revellers who've been there since 6pm.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

I'd listen to my own show if I could – but seriously, I like Brendan O'Connor on RTÉ Radio from 11 to 1pm, with the Saturday papers on the kitchen table. It acts as your eyes and ears; it's a reflection of the cut and thrust of politics.

Must-watch weekend TV show/box set?

I don't watch a lot of television – I'm with Marshall McLuhan who said TV is not something to watch, it's something to be on. But you stumble on stuff and my four daughters bought me a box set of The Royle Family as a present. I also like Northern Exposure.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

My favourite eatery would be my own house when Mairead my partner cooks chicken mango curry and we sit at the kitchen table. I'm on the road at the moment so would order Chinese food from Yuan Ming Yuan in Princes Street. We also like Nosta, a Turkish, Mediterranean outfit. I don't bother with silver service; I have been to the Royal Albert Hall – done that – but like a piece of crusty brown bread with butter.

Is Sunday still special?

I am not a regular churchgoer but it is special in this regard, that it's the only full day that Mairead and I have together.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

To be honest, I love my work. As a youngster in a factory, with four daughters, if somebody had told me I'd be playing records on national radio and making TV programmes... I'm glad my children are grown and happy. I've landed where I should be. Thank you, God, or whoever.

:: John Creedon's first book That Place we call Home (Gill Books) is published in October and can be pre-ordered.

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