Chris O’Dowd on Moone Boy, fatherhood and binge watching Broadchurch

The IT Crowd star, whose Irish Sky1 comedy returns tonight, fills us in on his TV picks

He may have left these shores to live in the States, but has Irish IT Crowd star Chris O’ Dowd kept his British telly roots? Let’s find out…

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Which British TV shows do you recommend to your starry American friends?
I told someone the other day they should watch Toast of London. I send links saying, “Watch this”, but LA is such an industry town, people are increasingly aware of what’s doing well in Britain.

What makes you switch off?
American commercials – they’re so terrible. British ads aren’t as bad. Here in the US, 90 per cent of the time it’s a man shouting, “You’ll get cancer until you buy this!” The other ten per cent is just burgers.

Do you have similar tastes to your wife, Dawn O’Porter?
She could probably live without Match of the Day. We’re based in LA and I see it in the afternoon – which is odd as I’m watching the highlights at a time of day when everyone else would be watching a live game.

You’re not an American football convert then?
I don’t really understand American sports, which is why I keep up with football – I feel like I have an itch to scratch. I’m a big podcast guy and when I’m walking the dog I listen to the 5 Live podcast, Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement and an Irish one called Off the Ball. 

Do you have time to watch TV since becoming a dad? [Their son, Art, was born in January.]
I’ve watched more TV over the past three or four months than I have in my whole life. In the last days of pregnancy you’re sitting around a lot, so I watched all of Mad Men, and The Sopranos from the start, and we watched the first series of Broadchurch in two days. 

O’Dowd with his wife Dawn O’Porter

You’re writing a US version of Moone Boy. How does it differ?
We’ve taken the basic premise – a working-class family where the kid has an imaginary friend – but we’re setting it in the Midwest, not Boyle [in rural Ireland]. I don’t know if it will work, to be honest. The tone on network television in America is so different, particularly for comedy. It needs to be a lot warmer and Moone Boy is already very warm. If you’re not careful it can become saccharine.

As Martin in Moone Boy is based on a younger version of you, will there come a point when you’ve exhausted childhood memories?
I definitely feel that we’ve run out of stories about Martin as an 11-year-old. I’d like to do a film about a 14-or 15-year-old version of me, discovering girls. I like the idea of Martin being a big Blur guy and his friend Padraic being an Oasis head and them falling out over that… and girls.

Have you got used to writing with a crying baby in the background?
I write at night, generally between 11pm and 3am. I don’t know how it’s going to work, but hopefully it will fit in with the night feed and I can bring the baby out to the office.

Does part of you wish that you were bringing up your son in Ireland, rather than LA?
I would love my child to have the childhood I had, but when I think about it, it’s very self-aggrandising. As long as we’re good parents, it doesn’t matter. I just hope that he’s able to do things that I wasn’t. I don’t know whether we’ll stay in LA. I imagine that we’ll settle somewhere by the time he goes to school. I wouldn’t be surprised if we came back. 

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Series three of Moone Boy begins on Sky1 tonight (Monday 2nd March) at 9.00pm