Tuesday 21 November 2017

Back to the Dáil? Viral video gives FG's Marty a futuristic PR boost

Martin Heydon, TD for Kildare South, pictured with his friend David Tynan (as ‘Doc Brown)’. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Martin Heydon, TD for Kildare South, pictured with his friend David Tynan (as ‘Doc Brown)’. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

It is wacky, wiggy and won't win any Oscars, but Martin Heydon's 'Back to the Future'-inspired election video has Generation Facebook's vote anyway.

Since being uploaded to the Kildare South candidate's page on Wednesday night, the cringe-tastic video has been viewed more than 30,000 times.

Donning his red body warmer at the Curragh yesterday, Fine Gael's answer to Marty McFly is now hoping to turn likes and shares into first preferences with the help of his flux capacitor on February 26.

"I wasn't 100pc sure at the start," said Mr Heydon, who first assumed office in 2011. "I was thinking, 'Jesus, will this come across as I mean it to?' It could have looked really naff."

Featuring a heavily pregnant cow named 'Daisy' and the politician breaking the fourth wall by winking at the camera, the three-and-a-half-minute plug could have easily wandered into Alan Kelly rap territory.

With 'Back to the Future' nostalgia still at an all-time high following the release of documentary 'Back in Time' last year, much like the plot of the movie itself, it's saved by a time-travelling DeLorean and a frazzled inventor named Doc Brown.

"I'm up against candidates who have plastered the place with posters and taken full page adverts in local papers," explained the dad of two, whose second son, Pauraic, was born just four weeks ago. "I knew we needed to do something different. Most of what's around has been songs and stuff. This is kind of different in that it's a parody of a film rather than just being a song saying, 'Diddley-eye, vote for me'.

"'Back to the Future' just fitted in with my message of what I've delivered in the past and what I want to deliver in the future."

Just 11 when the original movie starring Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd came out, the film fan told how he got the idea over Christmas while chatting with friends.

After helping to secure funding for the proposed Athy ring road last year, he joked that constituents could soon also be able to reach the dizzying speed of 88mph.

"Remember in the film, the car had to get to 88 miles an hour," he said. "This makes people realise it's a reality.

"While there's a very serious message at the back of this, it's about delivering that in a fun way. Politics doesn't have to be boring."

Borrowing his pal's DeLorean and roping in another to play the iconic Doc, the budding actor told how the skit was made on a handheld camcorder in one day around three weeks ago.

But he conceded that Golden Globe winner Michael J Fox won't be losing any sleep over his performance: "I think if you look at it, you'll see I was a little bit out of my comfort zone. Then again, if I lose a seat in two weeks' time, I'll be looking for another profession alright!"

Not everyone is a fan of the former farmer's small screen debut though, with one viewer questioning online whether "the people on hospital trollies and the homeless people will find this nonsense amusing".

Responding to the less than glowing reviews of 'Secure Your Future', the 37-year-old continued: "I've been getting a little bit of stick on Facebook from Shinners and Fianna Fáilers who wouldn't vote for me anyway. Look, I'm in politics - I'm used to getting attacked. I think anybody who's upset is missing the point of what this is about."

Mr Heydon promised a sequel to the surprise hit if he gets returned to Leinster House. There's just one more problem - he hates being called Marty.

"I actually don't like being called Marty," he laughed, "but I'm going to be stuck with it now!"

Irish Independent

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