Ryan Tubridy opens up about grief with David Walliams on new podcast

Former Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy opens up in the first episode of his new book podcast about the grief he experienced after losing his father.

Writer and actor David Walliams is the first guest on the weekly podcast The Bookshelf with Ryan Tubridy.

Tubridy explained the concept for the podcast in an Instagram post last week: “The guest comes along with three books from their very own bookshelf: The book from their childhood, the book that made them cry, and the book that changed their life.

“And over the course of a conversation, we have a chat about the people and their lives through the prism of these three beautiful, important books.”

In the first episode, Walliams and Tubridy discuss fatherhood, death and some of their favourite reads.

Little Britain and Britain’s Got Talent star Walliams is a bestselling children’s author, with 40 books published including Gangsta Granny and The Boy in the Dress. He tells Tubridy that being a dad to his 10-year-old son Alfred “makes his life brilliant”.

Walliams also revealed the impact losing his own father had on him, and Tubridy agreed when he pointed out the strangeness of life going on as normal when you lose a loved one.

“I’m thinking of looking out of the back of the funeral car of my own dad and thinking that very same thing, going ‘Don’t you know this great guy is gone? How can you be going in to buy bread? That’s so mundane.’ It’s most unusual, you forget your universe is just that,” Tubridy said.

He added: “And it’s like someone flicked the globe and everything’s changed and actually your landscape in your daily life is littered with landmines, with emotional tripwires and you suddenly find [you’re like] ‘hold it together, hold it together’ because no one else cares and certainly doesn’t understand why you’re suddenly having a moment because you saw a packet of Silk Cut Purple because it reminds you of your father. It’s bizarre.

“But that informs you as a person, a writer, a broadcaster, whatever it might be, people listening in, and should help you with empathy and nourish who you are as a human being.”

Sharing the book that made him cry, The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro, Walliams revealed what happened when he met his literary hero Ishiguro at a charity dinner party.

“I was quoting bits to him and he can see that I was a real fan, and very kindly he signed some books for me, and now when he has a new book, you know the proofs that go out? He signs one of them to me!” he said.

“We don’t move in the same circles, I have never won the Booker Prize and as far as I know I’ve never won the Nobel Prize for Literature... so I just love him, I love his work and I love that he’s been so kind to me as well.”

Explaining the dream-like narrative of 1995 novel The Unconsoled, about a famous pianist who arrives in a central European city to perform a concert he can’t remember agreeing to, Walliams admitted to a recurring dream he had about being booked onto the TV show Have I Got News For You and not being able to find his way around the BBC to get to the studio on time.

“That is the sort of Poundland version of The Unconsoled,” he said.