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Ian O'Doherty: Well he doesn't mean me – I have all the Motown hits!

Published 13/02/2014 | 02:30

Careful now: Chris O’Dowd has accused X Factor viewers of being racist
Careful now: Chris O’Dowd has accused X Factor viewers of being racist
Manchester United Manager David Moyes is greeted by mascot Fred the Red

There are times when actors, even subconsciously, start to believe they are who they play. Martin Sheen is probably the most obvious example, as he occasionally needs someone to take him aside and gently remind him that he's not, actually, President Bartlett. Then there's his fellow traveller, Sean Penn, who seems to have morphed into a weird, real world combination of every angry, maverick social campaigner he has ever played and now spends his life wandering around disaster areas shouting at journalists for no apparent reason.

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In fairness to Penn, you have to admire his chutzpah – particularly after the kicking he got when he went to New Orleans to rescue stranded children, only for his overcrowded boat, complete with entourage and his personal photographer, to sink in full view of the laughing media. Now it appears that Chris O'Dowd is channelling his inner Dave Lovelace.

That was the name of his character in The Sapphires, when he played the protective manager of an aboriginal girl group who faced discrimination and racial prejudice. It's a lovely little movie based on a true story and now art seems to be further imitating life with Boyle's most famous son having a dig at viewers of The X Factor for being racist.

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