Gay Byrne has led tributes to the woman behind the ‘Bishop and the nightie’ incident.
Bishop and the Nightie
A minor furore erupted in 1966 when the Bishop of Clonfert condemned The Late Late Show as immoral and Gay Byrne as a promoter of "filth". The condemnation stemmed from a small item on the show in which Byrne was interviewing a number of couples to see how well they knew each other. Byrne asked a Mrs. Fox from Terenure if she could remember what colour her nightdress was on the first night of her married life to her Mr. Fox. The woman first implied it was "transparent" before revealing that she might not have worn an item of clothing to bed that night at all. This response was received with laughter by Byrne and the studio audience, with Mrs. Fox then revealing her nightdress had been white. However, the Bishop either misheard or ignored this, feeling the need to protest against this "filthy" programme and the "filth" which was being televised into the nation's homes. The Bishop of Clonfert sent a telegram: "Disgusted with disgraceful performance",prompting a swift RTÉ apology which the Irish Examiner states was similar to the apology the same broadcaster issued during the Brian Cowen nude portraits controversy in 2009. Meath VEC said it was "anti-national", whilst Loughrea Town Council described it as "a dirty programme that should be abolished altogether". The furore died down after a number of weeks, but is still remembered. When the topic featured on the 2008 documentary How The Irish Have Sexbroadcast by rival channel TV3, the Irish Independent 's Damian Corless said Éamon de Valera "won't be turning on, but will instead be turning in his grave".