Friday 27 April 2018

Redwater's Fr Dermott defends drama's take on 'Oirish' life

Co Wicklow native Oisín Stack plays Father Dermott Dolan in ‘Redwater’
Co Wicklow native Oisín Stack plays Father Dermott Dolan in ‘Redwater’
Kat and Alfie Moon in Redwater
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The "hipster priest" who became the talking point of the opening episode of Redwater has defended the show in the face of criticism that it was full of "Oirish" stereotypes.

Actor Oisin Stack, who plays orange juice-hating Fr Dermott Dolan, said the show was never meant to be a realistic depiction of Irish life.

"This is not a social commentary," he said. "It's a psychological thriller that's meant to have a sense of suspense. Everything is meant to be heightened.

"I think if people are giving out about the realism, they're missing the point of the genre.

Kat and Alfie Moon in Redwater
Kat and Alfie Moon in Redwater

"It's meant to be stylised and filled with dramatic suspense."

Speaking about the scenes in which people are drinking heavily in pubs, Stack said: "I don't know about you, but most of the time I go to a pub there tends to be a few people drinking alcohol."

The debut of the East- Enders spin-off, which stars Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie as Kat and Alfie Moon, pulled in impressive ratings on RTE, with an average of 495,000 viewers tuning in.

However, some thought it was filled with cliched caricatures of Irish life.

It featured scenes of people downing Guinness and whiskey chasers in crowded bars, while Ian McIlhinney, who plays Redwater old-timer Lance, rides a horse to the beach every day for a nip in the ocean.

Some viewers noted that even Irish actors such as Fionnuala Flanagan, who was born and raised in Dublin, sounded like they were putting on an over-the-top Irish brogue.

It is not the first time that some of Albert Square's finest have hopped across the Irish Sea.

In 1997, Pauline Fowler, played by Wendy Richard, came to Ireland for a storyline in which she tried to find a long-lost half-sister.

The three episodes caused uproar with Irish viewers due to the less than flattering depiction of life here.

Livestock wandered the streets of Dublin and everyone appeared to be hostile and half-jarred.

In one scene, a man poured a pint over Pauline's head. He then demanded that she pay for it.

The BBC later apologised for its representation of Irish life.


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