Actor and comedian Ardal O’Hanlon has said that he always goes through a script and removes any ‘Irishisms’ before he agrees to a part.
The Father Ted star says that Irish people have been furious in the past at the way they have been portrayed on TV in countries such as the UK.
O’Hanlon says he is very keen to make sure the old stereotypes remain a thing of the past and that Ireland is represented in a more realistic and positive way.
He said: “From day one working in TV, I have been very conscious of the way the Irish are represented.
“In every show I’ve been involved in I read the script, take out the Irishisms right away and say, ‘I’ll supply those’. Father Ted was written by Irish people, so that was fine.”
In 1997, popular UK soap opera EastEnders saw some characters visit relatives in Ireland. Unlike the London characters, the Irish were shown as drunk and stupid.
It caused outrage in Ireland, where the show is also popular, and the BBC were forced to issue an apology.
O’Hanlon said: “That outraged people in Ireland. But that will happen from time to time, we were brought up with that.
“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.”
O’Hanlon’s next project will see him taking over from popular star Kris Marshall in the hit BBC drama Death in Paradise.
Marshall is confident that O’Hanlon will be a success in his new role. When asked about the difference between his departing character and O’Hanlon’s replacement, Marshall said: “He’s Irish, for starters.
“His character’s a lot more anecdotal, so the way he goes about things is different. He’s also been recently widowed – and he has a daughter in her early 20s. So that’s a whole different dynamic.”
O’Hanlon admitted he has big boots to fill and is even ‘crippled with doubt’ about taking on the role.
However, he said; “I embrace the challenge.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling