Tuesday 19 September 2017

Film buff Lisa Cannon's dad Mick has always been her leading man

TV presenter Lisa Cannon has a very special relationship with her dad Mick and they share the same interests

Lisa Cannon and her dad Mick both share a love of music and film. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Lisa Cannon and her dad Mick both share a love of music and film. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

When Lisa Cannon interviewed Bob Geldof in London recently, she brought along a copy of Hot Press from the 1970s in which her dad Mick had also interviewed him. "Bob thought it was hilarious," says Mick, who is passionate about music and film, just like his gorgeous daughter.

There's no doubting that Mick and Lisa are like two peas in a pod, with a particularly close relationship. "Dad is very sophisticated and up to date and there is nothing you can slide past him that he doesn't know," says Lisa. "He still reads Empire, GQ, Hot Press and seven newspapers per day, so he knows everything about politics, music and culture. He's like a walking encyclopaedia, but he is always catching me out on stuff so it keeps me on my toes."

Mick is originally from Castlebar, and grew up over the family pub, Cannon's, as the youngest of the late Edward and Hannah's three children. The pub is now closed but the family loves using the house as a holiday home. Mick went to UCD and worked as an English and maths teacher at Colaiste Eanna in Ballyroan, but is now retired. He was also a freelance music writer for Hot Press. A passionate photographer, he has a master's degree in English and a diploma in legal studies and law.

Mick met and married Laura, who was also a teacher, and Lisa (38) is their only child. The marriage ended when she was 10, and she lived between her mum's house in Leopardstown and her dad's house in Malahide, and was very close to both. Mick was delighted to become a father, and says that Lisa was a "terrific, good-humoured child", who was always keen to do well in school and in life. "People have said to me that Lisa has a beautiful personality and she does," says her proud dad. "She was always very caring, and was very good to my mum and also to Laura's mum, Nora, who passed away a year ago aged 104."

Describing her parents as both having "gorgeous personalities", Lisa recalls her dad taking her to the cinema, concerts, museums and galleries. He was strict in the sense that there was no messing and no nonsense, she says, but was extremely liberal and open-minded.

"We were a dynamic duo," she says. "Dad used to come and pick me up from school and was always giving me advice and telling me things about the world. He was very much a father, but he was also very cool and was down with the kids."

After school, Lisa did a degree in drama and theatre studies at Trinity College, followed by an MA in film, although her parents worried that it might lead to an insecure career path. She worked on RTE's Nationwide, produced a documentary for NBC and Channel 4 on John Lennon's 25th anniversary, and was even a production assistant on Sex and the City in New York. She then joined TV3's entertainment, fashion and beauty show, Xpose, and spent a decade there until she and Aisling O'Loughlin were replaced last year.

It was an uncertain time for Lisa, but she went on to do a great job covering Anna Daly's maternity leave on Saturday AM and Sunday AM. She has now just begun hosting and producing 3e's brand-new movie show, Box Office, which has already garnered an enthusiastic reaction. At the media launch of her show, which features reviews, news and celebrity interviews, she teased her dad from the stage about how, despite his fears, her film studies had paid off.

"People seem to really love the show and I honestly couldn't be happier," says Lisa. "There were definitely levels of uncertainty over the past year and Dad was so supportive, because if I'm frustrated or upset, so is he. He feels everything I feel and it upsets him just as much, which is quite powerful, as it means I have always had someone behind me who gets me 100pc."

It was a huge blow when Lisa's beloved mum Laura sadly passed away from cancer in 2008, aged 59. Laura was also fantastic, Lisa says, and she very much encouraged Lisa to travel and was very supportive.

"It was extremely difficult losing my mum," says Lisa. "Even though my parents weren't together, they were great friends and the three of us always spent Christmas together at a hotel. Dad helped my mum through her cancer in any way he could, and he was there when she passed away. He understood how close I was to her and helped me through the grief as best he could."

The other beloved man in Lisa's life is Welsh rugby player, Richard Keatley, whom she married in Florence, Italy, in September 2015. They are madly in love and the relationship has Mick's seal of approval, too. "Richard is a really nice guy and is very good to Lisa," Mick says. "We all go out for dinner or to a movie, and the three of us even spend Christmas together.

''I am dead proud of Lisa. She is caring, emotional, great fun, fearless and nothing fazes her. She's terrific on TV, and I watch her all the time and even give her constructive criticism. Sometimes it annoys her, but she will think about it and might take it on board."

Lisa says that Mick writes her beautiful 10-page letters on her birthday and at Christmas, describing what has happened to her that year. "We read them together and have a couple of cry breaks and laugh breaks," she says. "Dad has always been a huge shining light in my life."

'Box Office', Wednesdays at 8pm on 3e

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