Live at 3 is a popular Irish afternoon chat show broadcast live on RTÉ 1. Presented by Thelma Mansfield and Derek Davis, it was RTÉ's flagship daytime show from 1986 until 1997. Ireland's most successful Daytime TV programme, reaching audiences of 300,000 at times, both young and old. The Monday edition was produced for older viewers and evolved from "Going Strong" presented by Bunny Carr. Its theme music was 'Arlecchino' by Rondò Veneziano.

Live at 3
GenreLight entertainment
Presented byThelma Mansfield
Derek Davis
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
Production locationsStudio 5, RTÉ Television Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time60 minutes
Original networkRTÉ 1
Picture formatPAL
Audio formatStereo
Original release29 September 1986 (1986-09-29) –
30 May 1997 (1997-05-30)


In 1986 RTÉ had a new corporate brand for both of its stations RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2. As a result of this the daytime service split its programming between adults and children. Good Afternoon, broadcast on RTÉ 1 for several years, saw presentation announcer Thelma Mansfield at the helm introducing both children's and adult programmes, she also carried out interviews with musicians and other well known people. From 1986 Good Afternoon remained but Ian Dempsey, accompanied by Zig and Zag, took control of introducing children's programming from 4:30pm with a new show called Dempsey's Den. This was preceded by a new magazine-style show called Live at 3, which Director of Television Dick Hill asked producer Noel Smyth to set up and edit.[1]

RTE weather presenters John Doyle, Gerald Fleming, Evelyn Cusack, Jerry Scully, Dr. Aidan Nulty, Joan Blackburn, Austin Woods, Michael Cleary, Jean Byrne and Vincent O'Shea would make rotational appearances on the show to see what weather was in store.

The series will be on RTE Player Christmas 2021 to mark 60 Years of Television.


The first edition of Live at 3 was broadcast from Studio 4 in the RTÉ Television Centre at Donnybrook, Dublin 4. This was the first studio to be brought into full operation at RTÉ since the Television Centre was built in 1961. The studio was completed in 1982 but was not fully equipped until four years later. In 1982 Thelma received the Jacobs TV Award for "Live at 3" and Derek received it for "Live at 3" in 1991.


In 1997, RTÉ decided to axe Live at 3. Thelma Mansfield later revealed she was first made aware of this when she saw a newspaper headline reporting the show's cancellation while stopped at a filling station in the west of Ireland. [2]


First musical performancesEdit

Below is a list of artists whose first televised performance happened on Live at 3.

Artist Song Date
Mick Flavin "Flower Growns Wild" February 1987


  1. ^ "Television", The Irish Times, 29 September 1986
  2. ^ Murphy, Catherine (16 October 2011). "Female TV Presenters: There is only one Queen Bee". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
Preceded by Afternoon programming
on Telefís Éireann
Succeeded by