5 Things you might not know about - Ardal O’Hanlon

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Ardal O’Hanlon

1. O’Hanlon’s very first TV role was in Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews’ iconic priestly sitcom as Father Dougal, the doe-eyed buffoon sidekick to the more subtly daft Father Ted. He insists that he played Dougal not as an unreconstructed idiot, but as more of a dog-like creation: ‘Dogs are clever, but they make us laugh by doing silly things. I’m operating within the parameters of a dog.’

2. His dad Rory is an MP in the Irish Parliament for Fianna Fail. Hoping that his boy would pursue a career in law, he expressed great surprise when little Ardal said he wanted to be a comedian: ‘Don’t be ridiculous? You’re not remotely funny,’ proclaimed papa O’Hanlon.

3. He appeared in a 2007 episode of Doctor Who as the feline Brannigan who helps the Timelord escape a tri-dimensional gridlock in order to pursue Martha’s kidnappers.

4. In the Irish version of Who Do You Think You Are?, O’Hanlon discovered that his grandfather was a prominent member of the republican movement and was one of a handful of volunteers sent out by Michael Collins to wipe out the British Intelligence Network across Dublin.

5. The character of George Sunday he played in My Hero was initially written as Jewish. But he said it would simply be too difficult for him to be anything other than an Emerald Isle Catholic. So, they rewrote him as an Irish grocer. Whether the repositioning of the central role made the show funnier is difficult to tell.

King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 25 Mar.

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