Patrick Kielty on his arts doctorate: ‘Cat couldn’t believe I got this honour’

Comedian Patrick Kielty has said his wife, TV presenter Cat Deeley, is in disbelief that he is a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Ulster University.

Kielty, who replaced Ryan Tubridy as host of the popular Irish chat show The Late Late Show, received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the arts.

It comes during a year of celebrations marking 175 years of the Belfast School of Art at the university.

From Dundrum in Co Down, Kielty’s Bafta-nominated My Dad, The Peace Deal and Me saw him named UK Documentary Host of the Year at the 2018 Grierson Awards.

Patrick Kielty and Cat Deeley on the red carpet
Patrick Kielty and Cat Deeley on the red carpet ahead of the 20th Irish Film and Television Academy Awards ceremony at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre in 2023 (Damien Eagers/PA)

Asked who he thought should be the next recipient of an Ulster University honorary doctorate, Kielty suggested his wife Deeley, host of ITV’s popular daytime show This Morning.

“Well I think Cat Deeley would a great one to give an honorary degree to. Then she would believe Ulster University has given one to me!”

Deeley could not be at Ulster University on Monday because of her TV commitments.

“Apparently when you’re hosting a live show Monday to Thursday, you don’t get time off,” Kielty said.

“She couldn’t believe that Ulster had given me this honour – she still thinks I’ve come back for a wee break here and just pretended to get an honorary degree.”

Asked for some life advice for Ulster students who might want to go into arts and entertainment, he said: “My advice for someone who wants to get into entertainment is: don’t!

“Clearly older comedians like me still need to work so I would say do a degree and go into something completely different, please don’t come and steal my dinner!”

Also recognised by Ulster University on Monday was community activist Betty Carlisle, who was celebrated for her contribution to promoting shared education and empowering women from disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland.

Ms Carlisle, who was made an MBE, spent 37 years working to improve the lives of women and their families in north and west Belfast, has been the chief executive of Shankill Women’s Centre for 23 years.

The honorary doctorates are being conferred during summer graduations, which take place from July 1 to 9.

Artist Oliver Jeffers and Samantha Barry from US Glamour are also among the cohort being honoured this year.