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Interview Ardal O'Hanlon: I owe my success to Father Ted but the public still think of me as Dougal. They genuinely believe I'm not the brightest.

Byline: CAOIMHE YOUNG

FUNNYMAN Ardal O'Hanlon has revealed the public believes he's as stupid as the dozy priest he played in Father Ted.

The comedian, who shot to fame as Father Dougal in the hit comedy, is enjoying huge success on his stand-up tour which takes him to Dublin's Vicar Street tonight.

But despite making it in his own right, he can't seem to shake off his dim- witted former persona.

He said: "People constantly look at me with a puzzled expression and genuinely think I'm not the brightest.

"I was on a flight recently and the air-hostess made a point of showing me where the sick bag is kept.

"The public still think I'm Dougal although I've never had a negative reaction from anyone.

"People were utterly demented about Father Ted, they loved it so much.

"It was a very friendly loveable show but although I enjoyed filming it immensely, I don't miss it.

"I'm not a nostalgic person. I owe my career to the success of Father Ted and it was a good time in my life."

But the show has not made him a rich man and the dad-of-two does not receive a penny in royalties for re-runs.

He said: "I was stitched up a bit. But television companies are very clever that way.

"I don't make any money for the international re-runs of Father Ted but I was never in it for the money.

"A bit of cash comes in the door every now and again and that's always a bonus.

"I'm not rich. I love money like everyone else but I don't have a lot of it - I'm comfortable."

Amazingly the 35-year-old who lives between Dublin and London, admits his latest TV blockbuster My Hero, is not good television.

He said: "It isn't great really. It's tame and inoffensive.

"But it's meant for children and old people, not for people who go to the pub.

"It's ratings are far higher than Father Ted - even at its peak which is sad really - but it's on the BBC.

"My Hero doesn't pretend to be anything else. It doesn't pretend to be clever or witty.

"It's a sitcom about a superhero and I enjoy working on it a lot. It's good to be out socialising instead of at home scratching yourself."

But there are two big fans of My Hero in the O'Hanlon household.

His children Emily, four, and two-year-old Rebecca love seeing their daddy dressed up as Thermoman.

Ardal said: "They love seeing me on TV. Myself and my wife Melissa don't encourage them to watch me but they stumble upon it.

"Obviously they don't really get the jokes but they laugh anyway."

He added: "A lot of my friends are on television as well and my father Rory O'Hanlon, the politician, is also on TV sometimes so the kids think everyone is on it.

"They think it's odd if you're one of those people that doesn't appear on the box."

Ardal plans to move back to Dublin in September when Emily is due to start school.

He said: "We live between Dublin and London at the moment but that's just for practical reasons.

"We are coming home after the summer because we want Emily to have a good Irish education and an Irish accent.

"But I don't think I'll ever move back to Carrickmacross where I grew up.

"I'm a city boy. I love theatre, cinemas and traffic and I've a lot of friends in Dublin.

"But the nature of my job means I'll always travel. Ireland is too small, in television and even stand-up.

"Comedians and actors have to spread their wings and go further afield."

The comic, who is jetting into the capital for the last leg of his stand-up tour, said he is looking forward to coming back home.

He said: "I've been on tour for three months which is a bit knackering.

"I like performing in front of an Irish audience because we understand each other."

CAPTION(S):

DIM: As Fr Dougal with Dermot Morgan; HERO: As Thermoman with Emily Joyce
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2001
Words:679
Previous Article:PRISON WARDEN ON pounds 70K.
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