THE woman behind Ireland's most famous TV roles has revealed that when casting Love/Hate she felt the need to attract big names so people would watch.
Maureen Hughes has worked on productions such as Charlie and Once and also lent her expertise to the gritty crime drama.
Ms Hughes, who also found Eamon Owens for The Butcher Boy, said she suspected the show would take off but felt she needed big names to draw a bigger audience.
"Love/Hate would have been a success, I suspect, in any case. But when we were asked in the first instance to cast it, I remember looking at it and thinking I need to deliver somebody that is recognisable into this drama otherwise it won't be viewed," she confessed.
"I need to deliver a name like Aidan Gillen or Robbie Sheehan, somebody who has a cache," she added about her thinking at the time.
Both men had landed big roles both at home and abroad.
On her decision to take Tom Vaughan Lawlor off the stage and onto the small screen she said that she had been following his career.
"I thought he was absolutely extraordinary," she admitted.
"I had also seen him come up through a drama school and I knew he was really talented."
But she wasn't convinced until his audition for the crime kingpin's role that he was the man for the job.
"I felt he was Nidge but you never know until you get them into the room. But he was Nidge before, from the minute he sat down," she said.
She dismissed notions that it was too soon for Love/Hate fans to see the actors in a new, and very different, role.
Ms Hughes, who has also worked with Jack Reynor, said that Irish actors are gaining huge international interest.
"Irish talent has never been more investigated internationally because there is so much of it," she told Newstalk.
Her advice to aspiring actors is to try their hands at audtioning irrespective of whether or not they are professionally trained.
She held up Sherrif Street native Barry Keoghan as a shining example of how far natural ability can take an actor.
The 'cat killer' from Love/Hate has never had any formal training she pointed out.