Thursday 23 November 2017

Love/Hate success proves a launchpad for previously unknown cast of actors

Joyce Fegan and Maeve Sheehan

THE success of RTE's hit drama Love/Hate, which reaches its violent finale tonight, is rubbing off on its previously unknown cast of Irish actors.

Killian Scott, who plays Tommy in the hit drama series, has revealed that he will star in four major films next year on the back of the enormous popularity of the gritty crime series. Having quit drama school a year early to start filming the television series, his gamble on Love/Hate has paid off.

"Its success has exceeded my own personal expectations because it's always impossible to gauge an audience's reaction," he said. His four upcoming movies include Calvary, which stars Brendan Gleeson and Chris O'Dowd. "It's pretty cool," says Killian of his career progress so far "and Love/Hate has been the centrepiece of that."

Love/Hate has become Ireland's most successful television drama in years with audience figures topping one million.

The show has unleashed gruesome scenes of violence on Irish audiences, including rapes, murders and beatings – even the strangulation of pigeons.

In excess of one million viewers are expected to tune in again tonight for the concluding episode of the third series, which will decide the fate of the central character, paranoid gang boss Nidge. The audience has risen steadily with each episode averaging 720,000 viewers.

The show is so popular that actors have found themselves jeered at on the street over the antics of their screen characters. While Siobhan Shanahan, who plays Donna, has been abused on the street, Killian said he has only received positive reactions.

"My experience is that it's been emphatically positive, people have been pleasant. It's been exciting and a little intimidating," he said.

His character Tommy violently beat Git, played by Jimmy Smallhorne, when he found his on-screen girlfriend Siobhan being raped. Scott said that the show does not "glamourise violence" but as it developed, became more "free and unrestrained in how it presents things".

Scott said scenes of rape and physical abuse were difficult to film from a "logistical rather than emotional" point of view.

Love/Hate could yet become one of RTE's most successful exports. The shows producers are in talks to option the rights for a US remake. An online TV service, Hulu, has bought the rights to the first and second series.

It is hoped the website will introduce Love/Hate to the American market, attracting interest from the lucrative American cable television networks. The programme has already sold to Scottish TV and is broadcast in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the Middle East.

Back in Ireland, a DVD box set of all three series goes on sale tomorrow and an RTE spokesman has said orders have been coming in already. A Love/Hate album has also been released. The show's award-winning writer and creator Stuart Carolan is currently writing a fourth series set to go out next year.

Meanwhile, some of Love/Hate's stars took to Twitter to condemn US gun laws following the massacre of 21 children and six adults in Connecticut. Lawrence Kinlan who plays gang member Elmo, tweeted: "America should be ashamed of its gun laws. 27 dead, including kids #disgrace #sortitoutobama."

Another of the actors, Chris Newman, whose character Robbie was shot dead outside a newsagents in the first series, posted an image of a gun on his Twitter page commenting: "The LEGAL gun used in the school shooting. Can anyone explain to me why somebody would need a weapon like this?"

He continued: "I remember watching the documentary Bowling for Columbine and being horrified by American gun laws. Ten years later and nothing has changed."

The Love/Hate season finale is on RTE1 tonight, 9.30pm

Sunday Independent

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