Thursday 14 November 2019

'Hopefully, I won’t crash and burn half way through...' - Eoghan McDermott on not being 40, Mojitos in Majorca, and Love Island

Eoghan McDermott is narrating the Australian version of ITV’s big hit TV show Love Island
Eoghan McDermott is narrating the Australian version of ITV’s big hit TV show Love Island
Radio presenter Eoghan McDermott. Photo: Mark Stedman
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

“She said she was approaching 40, and I couldn’t help wondering from what direction”’ Bob Hope once joked. Eoghan McDermott saw the funny side of it recently when I wrote that he had, not only approached, but celebrated his 40th birthday.

Eoghan doesn’t look like he is ready for a comb-over, a seniors’ golf holiday, putting a rubber mat in the bath just in case he slips, or even going to a meeting for premature ejaculators and leaving early (that’s another joke, this time by Jack Benny).

The very popular radio and TV broadcaster — who is on first name terms with pals like Laura (Whitmore), Ed (Sheeran) and Niall (Horan) to name but a few — has hipster in his DNA. Unlike many hipsters, however, Eoghan is naturally engaging and charming.

This I discovered when I sat next to him on a long flight to Vancouver (no jokes about the risk of DVT being slightly higher on flights for elderly people, please) to meet U2 a few years ago. Eoghan was, and remains, a lovely fella, a good egg.

So when I mistakenly put five years on his age last month, I wasn’t surprised when Eoghan took my horrifying error in his stylish stride, even communicating to me from Spain last week.

No — he hadn’t gone there on a seniors’ golf holiday.

“Last week has been pretty hectic,” Eoghan told me. “Even for a sprightly young man who is definitely not 40!”

“I’m in Majorca," the fresh-faced 35-year-old said.

"I'm narrating the Australian version of ITV’s big hit TV show Love Island. It is a very simple set-up: young, single folk live it up in a luxury villa with hope of finding love. We document the bumps with a very wry eye.

"All the crew (over a 100) and contestants flew over from Australia the weekend before last. The contestants haven’t met each other; the first time they do will be in the villa. So they’ve been put in lock-down — no phone, no contact with the outside world and a chaperone for the week.”

“We’ve been practicing with stand-in contestants for the last five days, they are filmed 24 hours a day and the audience will see the preceding day’s footage condensed down to one hour.

"Because we shot on local time but broadcast on Australian time, I’m up at 3am every morning for 3.30am, in the studio, which is set up right beside but out of sight of the villa. I watch the episode with my writing partner Matt, who writes for I’m a Celeb... in Australia.

“And after we’ve watched it, we have about four hours to script everything up. Then we record; it gets checked and sent to the execs in Australia to watch. Any notes or tweaks come back, finishing touches are applied and that’s the episode done.”

Eoghan added: “The voice-over is such a huge part of the reason the show is a success in the UK. It sets the tone and narrative for the show and contestants. So it’s a big responsibility.”

Eoghan is usually finished and back in his hotel for about midday. He then preps for his radio show on 2FM, The Eoghan McDermott Show , “which I’m continuing with. That starts 4pm Irish time, 5pm Spanish time. When that finishes at 8pm, I go straight to bed as I am up at 3am again."

It puts a new meaning on bed-hopping in Spain.  “It is definitely full on, so I’m being very strict. No alcohol. Good food. Midday power nap.” (Midday power nap? Is Eoghan sure he isn’t 40, after all?)

“Saturday is my one day off. I see as much of the island as I can and maybe have a Mojito. Hopefully I won’t crash and burn halfway through. But no complaints. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be too busy in this fickle industry. So I’ll enjoy it while I can.”

Glad to see Eoghan isn’t thinking of retiring just yet.

Sunday Independent

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