Bláthnaid: I can't wait to act in TG4's EU comedy
She is best known as a host on afternoon TV and a judge on the All Ireland Talent Show. But the next time you see RTÉ presenter Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh she will be playing someone else.
The Diary can reveal that the 40-year-old is to play the lead role in TG4 comedy An Crisis which follows the members of an Irish-led mission promoting minority languages in the European Parliament under an Irish commissioner.
Après Match's Risteárd Cooper was the star of the first series of An Crisis -- which charted the downward spiral of obscure Irish language organisation ACT (An Chomhairle Teanga) facing budget cuts, but Bláthnaid will take over the lead for series two in her first big acting role.
"This fell out of the sky. I did a reading, they wanted another, I did another reading and a call back and I got it," said Bláthnaid.
"It'll be on air in the autumn and I'm very excited. I'm very humbled, I'm so flattered, I'm nervous but I'm so excited
The mother-of-four underwent a major procedure at the start of the year to remove half of her colon but resumed her duties in RTÉ last March to host coverage of the St Patrick's Day Parade.
Currently working on Irish-language documentaries in RTÉ, she will now fulfil a lifelong ambition to act in the comedy by the award-winning team of writer Antoine Ó Flatharta and director Charlie McCarthy.
"When I came to Dublin in 1989 I did plan to be an actor. Then my life took off on television, but it's definitely something I had in me and I never really gave up on it," she said.
"I always dreamt of it; it was never, 'I won't do anything about it', I just didn't go about doing anything about it.
For An Crisis, which will be part of TG4's autumn schedule, Bláthnaid will not just have to say her lines in Irish but in German and French with a full European cast appearing alongside her in the comedy set in the European Parliament.
But she remains unfazed.
"Things like this come out of nowhere. I never got anything I went for. Anything I got in my life came to me," she says.
"Therefore, it's a lesson to be learned that you don't always know what suits you. It's also the lesson, which I would never do, of never saying no because you're scared. No regrets; don't have yourself at 80 saying, 'I should have done that'."