Saturday 14 December 2019

The greatest Irish television drama of them all? 'Love/Hate' is the show that changed everything

Tom Vaughan Lawlor as Nidge
Tom Vaughan Lawlor as Nidge
Aidan Gillen as John Boy in Love/Hate
Stuart Carolan
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Stuart Carolan's hard-hitting urban crime drama took everyone by surprise when it first appeared on RTE1 in October 2010. Nothing quite like it had ever been seen before on Irish television, and it quickly became a national talking point.

Broadcasters derided its negative portrayals of the working class, others bemoaned its violence, and some critics even complained that the cast were too good-looking to be convincing inner city gangsters.

Season one may have had its detractors, but season two enthralled a nation as Aidan Gillen's gang boss 'John Boy' spun out of control. One of the most audacious things about Carolan's show has been its willingness to kill off seemingly indispensable characters. John Boy bought it in season two, Darren in season three, and last Sunday's bloodbath took care of Siobhan, Janet, and apparently Nidge himself.

When the series began, it would have been impossible to imagine that John Boy's sneering sidekick Nidge would later emerge as the star of the show, and in Carolan's hands his rise through Dublin's underworld has achieved a kind of Shakespearean grandeur. One wonders how a possible sixth series will fare without him.

Over the last four years the series has portrayed everything from rape and torture to the most vicious murders, all committed on primetime Sunday night television. It's a far cry from The Riordans. And despite the heavy accents, Love/Hate has been sold into almost 30 countries, and is on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in the US.

Irish Independent

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