Ardal O’Hanlon: I “take out the Irishisms” from every role I play

The Father Ted actor is "very conscious of the way the Irish are represented" and likes to make sure the dialogue is his own

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Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon has revealed how he makes up for screenwriters’ clumsy attempts to write dialogue for Irish characters. 

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“From day one working in TV, I have been very conscious of the way the Irish are represented,” he told the new edition of Radio Times.

“In every show I’ve been involved in I read the script, take out the Irishisms right away and say, ‘I’ll supply those’.”

O’Hanlon, who is taking over from Kris Marshall as Death in Paradise’s resident Caribbean cop, said there was a difference between comedy written from the Irish perspective, and shows by outsiders that poke fun at the Irish.

“Father Ted was written by Irish people, so that was fine, but around the time we were shooting it EastEnders went to Ireland and represented it as this terribly backward society where people were going around with one eye and drunk,” he explained.

“That outraged people in Ireland. But that will happen from time to time, we were brought up with that.”

So what can we expect from O’Hanlon’s character, DI Jack Mooney? Will he be like original star Ben Miller, or Marshall’s DI Humphrey Goodman? 

“Ben’s character was uptight. Kris’s was more clumsy and, I suppose, with me, they’re going for something a little bit quirky on the island,” O’Hanlon said.

“I’ve tried to bring a certain kind of warmth to it. Mooney is quite friendly, quite genial and slightly underestimated because of it. Maybe there’s some of the naivety that I’ve brought to other characters before.”

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You can read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – available in shops and on the newsstand from Tuesday 7th February

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