Friday 6 December 2019

Damo & Ivor star Andy Quirke reveals battle with dyslexia

Andy Quirke, from the brand new series of Damo and Ivor
Andy Quirke, from the brand new series of Damo and Ivor
Andy Quirke, Rosanna Davison, Wesley Quirke
Andy Quirke, of ‘Damo and Ivor’ fame
Andy Quirke (Damo) with, from left, Maia Dunphy, Hilary Rose, Vogue Williams and Diana Bunici at the RTE2 new season launch in Dublin
Miriam O'Callaghan, Andy Quirke aka Damo
Andy Quirke plays both Damo and Ivor in the eponymous upcoming RTE show.
Melanie has proved a hit with the fellas like Damo after her performances on the X Factor

Melanie Finn, Showbiz Editor

Andy Quirke has garnered an army of fans thanks to his hit RTE show Damo & Ivor.

But he has revealed how life wasn't always so charmed for him, having struggled with dyslexia from an early age.

Andy Quirke, Rosanna Davison, Wesley Quirke
Andy Quirke, Rosanna Davison, Wesley Quirke
Andy Quirke, of ‘Damo and Ivor’ fame

The brother-in-law of Rosanna Davison has described himself as a Dennis the Menace-type character at school, where he said he was constantly getting into trouble due to his behaviour.

He reckons that his teachers sent 186 notes home to his parents - all of which he intercepted.

Andy Quirke (Damo) with, from left, Maia Dunphy, Hilary Rose, Vogue Williams and Diana Bunici at the RTE2 new season launch in Dublin
Andy Quirke (Damo) with, from left, Maia Dunphy, Hilary Rose, Vogue Williams and Diana Bunici at the RTE2 new season launch in Dublin

"I'd sign them all and send them back. Of course then the teacher would say, 'I'd really like to meet your parents' and you'd write back that we can't meet up for various reasons. I was able to perfect my parents writing," he said.

He left school at 16 and went to work for his father's business - the Dr Quirkey arcade - which was when he first started impersonating people.

Andy Quirke plays both Damo and Ivor in the eponymous upcoming RTE show.
Andy Quirke plays both Damo and Ivor in the eponymous upcoming RTE show.

His big break came on The Republic of Telly with comedy skit 'Everybody's Drinkin', featuring his two polar-opposite characters, and he went on to become a regular on the programme.

His writing partner and cousin Jules Coll decided on the original idea of a boozy night out as he reckons that "Irish people can relate to drink".

Miriam O'Callaghan, Andy Quirke aka Damo
Miriam O'Callaghan, Andy Quirke aka Damo

His own show is back for another season, but he told the RTE Guide that he wasn't surprised by its success, pulling in around 210,000 viewers last year.

"It's amazing," he said. "I get paid to do what makes me happy".

"My mum and maybe my teachers are probably saying, 'Finally he is making a living out of all that messing that he used to do'."

The second series originally featured the late British comedian Rik Mayall, with Quirke saying he was left devastated by the star's sudden passing last summer.

He took on the role of Ivor's loaded father in the first series and went down a storm, prompting Andy to write him a bigger part for the second series.

"Rik was brilliant at doing anger in a funny way which is really difficult to do," he continued. "He was in only two episodes in season one but wanted to be in all six in season two. So we wrote him all the way through and just three weeks before we were scheduled to film, he passed away.

"We had to rip the script apart but initially we didn't want to get another actor to play that role because we felt that Rik was irreplaceable."

Eventually, they got the British actor Alan Ford to take on the role, an East End actor best know for playing the gangster Brick Top in Snatch.

Online Editors

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