Thursday 17 October 2019

Charlie actor: 'My parents laughed when I told them I was Bertie'

Gus McDonagh as Bertie Ahern in 'Charlie'.
Gus McDonagh as Bertie Ahern in 'Charlie'.
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Former "Teflon Taoiseach" Bertie Ahern will appear in the next instalment of RTE's political drama 'Charlie'.

Actor Gus McDonagh (32) plays the anorak-loving former Fianna Fail leader and received a mixed reaction from his friends and family when he told them he'd landed the part.

"My parents just started laughing when they heard," he said. "I don't think they could picture their son playing Bertie." McDonagh admits that playing Ahern was a challenge.

"It's a pretty nerve-wracking role," he told the Irish Independent.

"His political career ended quite recently.

"A lot of people have very strong opinions about him, and will have strong opinions about how I play him. I'm not impersonating him - this is an interpretation."

McDonagh has previously appeared in Stuart Carolan's 'Love/ Hate' and gothic drama 'Ripper Street'.

"This is definitely the biggest show I've been part of," he said.

"I was only in 'Love/ Hate' for a few seconds and I didn't do anything noteworthy like kill a cat."

'Love/ Hate' gangster Laurence Kinlan, who played the part of informer Elmo, will also appear in this week's episode of Colin Teevan's drama.

Kinlan plays Independent TD Tony Gregory - an individual he has huge respect for. "I grew up in the North Inner City and seen the good he did for the area" Kinlan said. "And he used to hand out medals at the Community Games."

Some 724,000 people tuned in for the first episode of the three-part drama last week.

"The high figures for the opening episode are a testament to the stellar cast," RTE's Head of Drama Jane Gogan said. The second episode is set in 1982 and follows on from the fall of Garret FitzGerald's coalition.

Irish Independent

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