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Wednesday 23 July 2014

How Jay Duffy is keeping the family business alive . . .

Ed Power

Published 19/10/2012|05:00

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Jay Duffy

The actor son of Boyzone star Keith is well used to screaming fans -- and he'll soon have his own, writes Ed Power

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Hollyoaks star Jay Duffy appreciates how ridiculous his life must seem to other people.

"It's very cool watching your dad on stage in front of thousands of screaming girls," he laughs. "It's not a sight every teenage boy gets to see."

At 16, Duffy is too young to have any real recollections of father Keith's first stint as a pop heartthrob with Boyzone in the '90s. Mostly his memories are of the group's reunion tours in 2008 and 2010.

However, he vividly recalls visiting his dad on the set of Coronation Street, where, between 2002 and 2005, Keith played good-natured barman Ciaran McCarthy.

"Boyzone were up and running around '96, '97 -- I was only one or two at that stage," he says.

"With Coronation Street I was a lot older. I have stronger memories of him in front of the cameras. I guess I caught the bug."

He may have just entered fourth year at Belvedere College in Dublin but there is little of the jittery newcomer about Duffy. Before our conversation -- to promote his starring role in an ambitious new production of Romeo and Juliet at Cork Opera House -- his PR people seemed rather nervous. His parents were keen to know the 'angle' of the piece.

As quickly becomes clear, Jay requires little chaperoning. Bouncing in from rehearsals he is chatty and confident -- very different from his father at the same age.

Speaking to the media, Keith has admitted to having had huge self-esteem issues until Boyzone took off. Jay is surprised to hear this. He'd always assumed dad adored being centre of attention.

"He has been very at ease with that as long as I can remember.

"It would have been interesting to see. I like to think I'm a confident enough person. I can get shy. It happens all the time."

The child of a celebrity, you might assume life has worked out a little easier for him.

The entertainment industry, after all, is littered with people who have achieved success on the shoulders of their parents (see panel). Duffy Jr has undoubtedly travelled far in a short time.

He's already starred in the UK teen soap Hollyoaks and, once school is finished, has ambitions to move to London or, better yet, Hollywood. Still, nobody could accuse of him riding on his father's coat-flaps.

"I wouldn't have had the opportunities I was given without him," says Jay of his father.

"At the end of the day, though, I'm my own man."

Jay Duffy stars in Corcadorca's production of Romeo and Juliet at the Cork Opera House, which runs until tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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