LOVE/HATE star Nidge yesterday showed a very different side as he tackled students in Trinity College.
Actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, aka Nidge, with his distinctly southside accent, was happy to speak about the fourth series of the hit crime drama, which returns to screens next Sunday.
"I've seen all six episodes and I think it's the best one we've done so far," said Vaughan-Lawlor about the new season.
Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Independent, Tom, who plays Nidge, the show's main character, said that he is "really looking forward to how it's received" in spite of the drama's writer Stuart Carolan's admission that he was nervous about how the gardai would react.
"I think Stuart has taken it in a really brave direction and it's a sign of him as a writer that he's not just content to sit back and rest on the success of last year but that he's continually raising the bar and he's done it again this year," elaborated Vaughan-Lawlor.
Season four sees a group of undercover detectives come into the gangland mix, with the gardai sharing the screen time with the criminals. Is Nidge, who climbed the criminal ranks in previous seasons, nervous about anyone coming up behind him in the new season?
"I think Nidge is always under threat from a load of different angles, but you'll have to wait and see how it pans out," answered the actor.
Even though heartthrob Robert Sheehan, who played Darren, appeared on set during filming for season four, it has been confirmed that he is dead and not a character in the new show. But does Nidge feel any remorse for killing off the country's heartthrob? Laughing heartily, Vaughan-Lawlor responded that we "will have to wait and see".
Remorse or not, he does acknowledge that he plays a "deeply complex sociopathic egomaniac" in Love/Hate. Vaughan-Lawlor, a professionally trained actor with a lot of stage work under his belt, draws on the work of classic playwrights when acting as Nidge.
"I'm very lucky in my training and the part I play on television is how I play my parts on stage." He summed it up by saying: "I find it's informed by my reading of Shakespeare."
From Shakespeare to Friel: Tom spent one "incredible evening" with the Irish playwright after he performed in the Donegal man's play Molly Sweeney in the Curve Theatre in Leicester.
"We sat in this bar afterwards, this empty bar in this massive theatre in Leicester in the winter and we sat there with Brian and Anne (wife) and we chatted for hours about theatre and we chatted about Ireland and it was an incredible night that I'll never forget."
But who picked up the tab at the end of the night? "He was very funny, he was going buying us drinks all night and we said 'Brian, I think the bar's closed' and he said 'we'll see about that'."
Talking about his on-screen wife, played by Monaghan actress Aoibhinn McGinnity, Tom described her as "brilliant" and in spite of their tumultuous on-screen relationship, in real life they have an "amazing rapport, a great fluid relationship". She is a "joy to work with", said Tom.