Tuesday 21 November 2017

Bernard O'Shea: 'Everything I know about women, I've learnt from women's magazines'

Bernard O'Shea (37) is one of the presenters on 2FM's 'Breakfast Republic', an actor and a comedian. Born in Durrow, Co Laois, he lives in Castleknock, Dublin with his wife, Lorna, and their children, Olivia (2) and Tadhg (9 months)

Actor and comedian Bernard O'Shea. Photo: Mark Condren
Actor and comedian Bernard O'Shea. Photo: Mark Condren

Ciara Dwyer

I get up at 5.30am. I feel absolutely exhausted every single morning. Even though I've been doing Breakfast Republic for the past three-and-a-half years, I never get used to the early mornings. My wife, Lorna, and our two kids are still asleep at that time. Lorna does 99.9pc of the work in the house with the children, and she is an accountant. I brush my teeth, put on my clothes and, generally, I'm in the car for 5.45am.

I live in Castleknock. By 6am, I'm in Kilmainham, and there is already traffic at that hour. I have to be in RTE for 6.30am. When I get there, I'll look at the sports on the computer, and we'll have prepared some bits from the day before. Generally, it's mayhem. Then we come on at 7am. Keith [Walsh] presents by himself for the first hour of the show.

On a slow news day, we often have a busier day, because people will be texting in about their dead hamsters. If they are commuting to work and stuck in traffic, they feel that we're a little light relief. One of my slots on the show is about things I learnt from women's magazines. I'm always reading them, because I had three older sisters, and that was the only literature in the house. Also, when you're young, you just want to see women in their bras. But I always read the articles. Everything I know about women, I've learnt from women's magazines.

This morning I read that fake tan is out. I have dabbled in fake tan myself - just for the face, though. Well, actually, it was tinted moisturiser. I put it on after shaving and it didn't really come up, so I put on a little bit more. The next day, I woke up and I couldn't get it off. When you are a red-haired man and you wear fake tan, people can spot it. There is nowhere to hide.

I love doing the radio show. So many people go into their jobs and there are huge amounts of stress. If they don't get all their work done, there is war. Jobs like this don't come around too often. It's amazing to be told, 'Go in and have the crack for the next three hours'. You can't force chemistry, but I think that at this stage, Jennifer [Zamparelli], Keith and I are like a married couple - we're starting to give out to each other.

When the show is over, I get in the car and drive to Inchicore - to the set of Bridget and Eamon. Someone hands me something to eat, and then, by 11am, we're filming, until 7pm. Jennifer and I co-wrote it with our producer, Jason Butler. It's a comedy series about a couple from the 1980s who live in Ireland, have no money and are always fighting with each other. Bridget wants her life to be better, and Eamon just wants to be left alone to watch telly and drink tea. We've just done our second series, and recently sold it to UK TV Gold. It's funny when you see the likes of The Guardian and The Independent [in the UK] saying it was great. I wish the Irish papers would say the same.

Recently, I've started swimming again. Before I was married and had children, I used to do triathlons. But then I got busier with work, and I started to have a family. I stopped swimming and running, and then I dislocated my kneecap. I started putting on weight and then more weight, and then all the clothes I had bought didn't fit me any more. Keith just did the Dublin City Marathon, and he was doing all his fitness stuff, even though he has as busy a life as anyone else, with family and stuff. So, I got the inspiration from him. I'm not going to try to run a marathon, but yesterday I had my first session with a young guy from Swim Ireland. He is going to help me pick up speed. He is 22, and I call him an elastic band of hope. Young people are like elastic bands - they fall out of trees and they are fine. They look at everything so positively, because life hasn't ground them down yet.

I don't want to be a fat parent, but there is no connection between how big a person is and their fitness. A lot of big people are very fit. I have a lot of breakfast bars, and when you work my hours, you don't get a chance to prepare food. You eat whatever is handy. I eat a lot of sugar to stay awake, and I drink a lot of coffee. Every single day, I start out with great intentions. I have a little fitness app, and every day I put in my food. Then, at 2pm, I decide that I'm not putting anything else into it. I get depressed when it tells me that I've already eaten my calorie-and-sugar quota.

On weekends, I might do a stand-up show. If you're going to come to see me, you'll probably hear more about Peppa Pig than anything deep and meaningful. The stand-up is a bit edgier than the radio show, but when I say 'edgy' I mean I'd have a tendency to get angry about the local shop not having Tunnock's Tea Cakes, as opposed to political structures.

I get home just before bedtime. We normally do story-time, but recently Olivia has taken to reading the stories herself. So we have to sit and let the two-year-old read to us, even though she is not able to read. She makes it up, but as I always say, that's what Daddy does.

Before I had children, I knew how to raise them. When you don't have kids, you know exactly what to do. But then when you have them, you realise that they aren't children, they are just little people, doing their own thing - they don't agree with you, and they don't want to go to bed. I never thought I'd be a soft parent, but I find it hard to give out to them. I can't look at Olivia's face if I give out to her. It kills me.

In the evenings, Lorna tries to put Olivia to bed, while I have the easy job. I stay down with Tadhg and watch football with him until he falls asleep. Generally, I'm in bed for 10.30pm. I put on a podcast with a timer so that it switches off. I'm so tired that I'm usually asleep in three minutes.

'Breakfast Republic' is on 2FM from 6am-10am weekdays, and 'Bridget and Eamon' is on RTE2 on Mondays at 10pm

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