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WATCH: 'Charlie' actor Gavin O'Connor addresses criticism of his portrayal of the late Sean Doherty

Cork actor Gavin O'Connor has responded to criticism of his portrayal of late former Justice Minister Sean Doherty in RTE drama 'Charlie'.

Last week Doherty's daughter Councillor Rachel Doherty slammed the series, saying said she was frustrated by the portrayal of her father as a "villain" and a "cartoon figure".

Speaking to Independent.ie, O'Connor said he could "understand" her reaction.

"Her father was a very, very controversial figure and she’s sitting down on a Sunday night and watching her father as portrayed by an actor in the drama.  She’s his daughter at the end of the day and I respect her opinion and she's quite entitled to it."

Prominent figures within Fianna Fail including Willie O'Dea and Mary O'Rourke have also leveled criticism at the drama, questioning the portrayal of characters and key events of the time.

However, O'Connor believes the three-part series should be judged as a drama and not a documentary.

"With a character as divisive as Haughey you're always going to have that and it's going to be very hard to please everybody," he says.

"But I think how we should judge it is as a drama.  It is essentially a drama based on real events.  So if there are things that people think are inaccurate or portrayals that are inaccurate it is essential a drama and if you capture the essence of those characters..."

He added, "People are always going to have their nose out of joint.  But I have to say, in the main, the reaction has been hugely positive.  I've been blown away by some of the comments.  People have been very, very kind.  The reaction has been overwhelming."

O'Connor revealed he had been contacted by former constituents of Sean Doherty in Roscommon who had complimented him on his performance.

"And Des OMalley, Geraldine Kennedy, and Peter Murtagh," he added, "I can't ask for better commentators than them, who were close to the administration at the time to come out and go, 'Yeah, you got it'.

Check out the full interview above in which Gavin talks about Aidan Gillen's 'tour de force' performance, the intense filming schedule, his research for the role, and nailing Sean Doherty's mannerisms and accent.

'Charlie' releases on DVD on Friday January 23.  We have copies to give away - just log on to Facebook.com/IndoEnts for details.

Online Editors

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