GANGSTER Nidge is set for a massive career change – as political spin doctor PJ Mara.
RTE has announced that its new three-part political drama based on the life of the late Taoiseach Charles J Haughey would go into production next week.
As first revealed last month, 'Wire' actor Aidan Gillen will play the lead role of Haughey, who went from humble beginnings to lead the country before his political career ended in disgrace.
But there was a surprise announcement as fellow 'Love/Hate' cast member Tom Vaughan-Lawlor – aka Nidge – will turn his current TV persona on its head, by playing Haughey spin doctor PJ Mara.
Another familiar face from 'Love/Hate', 'Elmo' actor Laurence Kinlan will play Independent inner-city TD Tony Gregory who crucially helped Haughey stay in power.
RTE said the political drama would "chart the emergence of modern Ireland through the mesmeric figure of Charles J Haughey and his pursuit of power".
Directed by Kenny Glenaan and Charlie McCarthy, the series will cover the period from Haughey's bid for power in 1979 and go on to chronicle his attempts to maintain that power until his departure from politics in 1992.
Jane Gogan, head of RTE television drama, said: "We have a fantastic cast lined up to tell a story about one of the most intriguing characters in Irish political life."
Filming will last nine weeks and will take place in various locations across the capital.
Meanwhile, in an interview for 'Hot Press' magazine, 'Love/Hate' writer Stuart Carolan said the gangland drama – which saw its highest ratings ever when it returned to television screens last Sunday for its fourth series – gives a real and unglamorous insight into crime and violence and its repercussions.