Entertainment

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ardal O'Hanlon frequently amends British TV scripts to remove 'Irishisms'

Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O'Hanlon
TV comedy: Ardal O'Hanlon stars in a new series based in a typical north of England town.
Dermot Morgan as Fr Ted and Ardal O'Hanlon as Fr Dougal in the famous 'My Lovely Horse' video. Photo: Channel 4

Lucy Mapstone

Actor Ardal O'Hanlon said he is very aware of how Irish people are represented on British TV and that he frequently amends his scripts to remove the "Irishisms".

The former Father Ted star, who is replacing Death In Paradise's Kris Marshall in BBC1 series, said that people in Ireland have been "outraged" by the way they are portrayed on-screen, using the 1997 Dublin-based episodes of EastEnders as an example.

O'Hanlon told the Radio Times: "From day one working in TV, I have been very conscious of the way the Irish are represented.

"In every show I've been involved in I read the script, take out the Irishisms right away and say, 'I'll supply those'.

TV comedy: Ardal O'Hanlon stars in a new series based in a typical north of England town.
TV comedy: Ardal O'Hanlon stars in a new series based in a typical north of England town.

"Father Ted was written by Irish people, so that was fine, but around the time we were shooting it EastEnders went to Ireland and represented it as this terribly backward society where people were going around with one eye and drunk."

The BBC was forced to apologise after receiving complaints from viewers over the stereotypical overtones of the three special episodes, which focused on Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richard) travelling to Ireland to meet a long-lost relative.

O'Hanlon said: "That outraged people in Ireland. But that will happen from time to time, we were brought up with that."

The actor and comedian said he is "crippled with doubt" to be taking over the reigns as Detective Inspector Jack Mooney in the Caribbean-based detective series from Marshall, who has played DI Humphrey Goodman since 2014.

Dermot Morgan as Fr Ted and Ardal O'Hanlon as Fr Dougal in the famous 'My Lovely Horse' video. Photo: Channel 4
Dermot Morgan as Fr Ted and Ardal O'Hanlon as Fr Dougal in the famous 'My Lovely Horse' video. Photo: Channel 4

He said: "For most of us, even the apparently very confident ones, doubt is a big part of life. But I'm of a certain age now, and those kind of things don't plague me the way they might have 10 years ago, I embrace the challenge."

Marshall, (43), joked that the main difference between his departing character and O'Hanlon's is that "he's Irish, for starters".

Marshall said: "His character's a lot more anecdotal, so the way he goes about things is different. He's also been recently widowed - and he has a daughter in her early 20s. So that's a whole different dynamic."

Marshall revealed last week that he is standing down from the popular programme because he wants to spend more time with his children, after spending six months of the year filming the show in Guadeloupe.

He said that it was always his plan to end his time on Death In Paradise within a few years, once his son had grown up and when working abroad half the year "became impractical".

"It was always quite a finite thing. I certainly didn't hide it from anyone I work with," he said.

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