The Irish stars UK TV wouldn’t be the same without

On St Patrick's day we celebrate some of the best and brightest Irish men and women who've made a valuable contribution to British television

Ardal O’Hanlon

You might know him best as Father Dougal Maguire or Sunday from My Hero, but either way Ardal O’Hanlon’s made quite the impact on UK television over the years. Sure wasn’t he even in Skins playing a dodgy teacher?


From a guest role in Doctor Who’s Gridlock to his own episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, slots on Jack Dee Live At The Apollo to Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, and even children’s TV offerings like Tales of The Riverbank, O’Hanlon’s made quite the impression on the UK TV scene. He was even in an episode of Cucumber lately y’know.

Pauline McLynn

G’wan, g’wan, g’wan. Add Pauline McLynn to your list of Irish people who’ve made an impact on UK TV they said/ So we did. And sure who could forget Father Ted’s Mrs Doyle, eh? 

Most recently spotted on Albert Square as Nick Cotton’s missis Yvonne, she also bared all (literally) in Channel 4’s Shameless as Frank Gallagher’s new squeeze Libby Croker. You’d never look at a teapot the same way again. McLynn’s recent UK TV comedy roles included roles in Father Figure and Threesome, but sure won’t her legacy always be tied to a fabulous cup of Irish tea?

Chris O’Dowd

Best known as laid back Irishman Roy Trenneman from Graham Linehan’s IT Crowd, Chris O’Dowd is probably one of the best loved chaps in UK TV comedy right now, not to mention a film star on the rise internationally.

The co-creator of Sky1’s Moone Boy began his career back home in Ireland as an unlucky in love receptionist on TV drama The Clinic (which also starred Poldark’s Aidan Turner don’cha know…) but made his UK TV debut in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard (alongside Jane Horrocks) back in 2006. Turn that TV on and off again as often as you like – chances are the Irish star will still be there.

Dylan Moran

You can’t mention Black Books without talking about Dylan Moran. The Irish comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker may now be best known for his work with Simon Pegg on the big screen but it’s his time as a bookseller (with the brilliant Bill Bailey and Tamsin Grieg) that he’s still loved for.

Moran originally made an appearance in BBC2’s How Do You Want Me? back in the late 1990s before going on to write and star in the critically acclaimed Channel 4 comedy. It’s basically a UK TV comedy cult classic at this stage.

Yasmine Akram

She may have popped up on Peep Show and had various other bit parts on UK TV in The Centre, Stella and London Irish but Drogehda’s Yasmine Akram made a massive splash when she popped up in BBC’s Sherlock and the man from 221b Baker Street popped the question.


Comedienne Akram hosts a BBC Radio 4 series by the name of Irish Micks and Legends, which aims to educate the people of these here British Isles about, well, you guessed it, Irish myths and legends. She’ll always be the lovely Janine to us though: Here’s hoping she shows her face again next season, eh?