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We've come sofa in last 10 YEARS; Ireland AM celebrate decade since start of nation's first morning show: SERIES DAWN OF NEW TELLY ERA.


IT has been voted the country's favourite TV show and yesterday Ireland AM celebrated 10 years on air.

The breakfast show was launched on September 20, 1999, becoming the first of its kind here.

Its hosts then were Mark Cagney and Amanda Byram, who returned to the couch yesterday for the first time since Amanda said goodbye nine years ago.

Amanda said: "I remember my first day - I was petrified, we were both really nervous. I will never forget that five, four, three, two, one countdown for as long as I live. It was the most horrifyingly petrifying five seconds of my life.

"It was terrifying but it was the most wonderful year of my life.

"It was Ireland's first morning show, it was massive. I owe everything that I have gotten out of my career to this show and to Mark."

In 1999, Mark shared the sofa with Amanda and Alan Hughes. Since then, Mark has had four other TV wives including Emma Buckley, Claire Byrne, Maura Derrane and his current missus Sinead Desmond.

He said: "I can't believe we are10 years old - some of us look a bit worse for wear. I can't remember most of the first year. I remember the disasters."

His long-standing colleague Alan told the Irish Daily Mirror: "It is surreal to think we have lasted 10 years. Myself and Mark started on the same day and I can't believe we are still here after a decade.

"We watched the first show back this morning and I look like I am making my communion."

When Ireland first woke up to the TV3 programme, a mere 6,000 fans followed the show, Today, 170,000 tune in every morning.

And this year and last it was voted Ireland's Favourite TV show" at the TV Now Awards.

Presenter Sinead, who has hosted the show for three years, said people tune in every morning for an escape.

She added: "We have built up a relationship with them. That was obvious by all the calls we got this morning."

Alan added: "We get a lot of messages from people who say we put a smile on their face before they go to work."

The show has welcomed guests including Colin Farrell, Kerry Katona and Gordon Ramsey but Sinead said it is the reallife stories that get her going. She added: "I am always crying on air or at the break. Those reallife stories are the reason I got into journalism." The cast and the crew yesterday partied on air - with guests vet Pete Wedderburn, stylist Celia Holman-Lee and cook Catherine Leyden sharing a bottle of bubbly.

Director of News Andrew Hanlon said: "What an incredible 10 years it's been. When Ireland AM first started people said breakfast TV would never catch on in Ireland."

6,000 viewers tuned in to watch the first broadcast of Ireland AM 170,000 viewers now start their day with a hearty breakfast of news and current affairs


THE FIRST SHOW Amanda Byram and Mark Cagney open CELEBRATION Sinead Desmond, Adrienne Campion and Mark Cagney RISING & SHINING Amanda Byram was back at studios were it all started A PIECE OF CAKE Past and present hosts Audrey McGrath, Anna Daly, Alan Hughes, Mark Cagney, Sinead Desmond, Aidan Cooney, Amanda Byram and Karen Koster in Dublin yesterday PARTY Andrew Rudd & Karen Koster THREEMENDOUS Sonia Mohlich, Amanda Byram and Celia Holman
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2009
Next Article:FIVE SIBLINGS SEPARATED AT BIRTH MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME; Now they vow to track down their mum.

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