herald

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Brian is hooked on Christmas traditions

"Get me a man! That's what I want for Christmas!" screams Brian Dowling when asked about his preferred gift.

The former Big Brother winner claims he is regularly inundated with socks and pyjamas from his mother, but this year he's leaving her in no doubt as to what he wants to find under the tree.

Alas, there'll be no time for toys as Brian will be spending the festive season performing in his first ever pantomime. Audiences watching Peter Pan in the Tivoli Theatre won't find it too hard to recognise the story's resident baddie, Captain Hook.

In fact, writer Karl Broderick created this spoilt-but-not-evil character with Brian in mind.

Dowling revealed: "I went to see Anthem Productions' panto last year at Liberty Hall. They did Snow White and the acting was amazing and so funny. I got really into it and was shouting 'he's behind you' and all that stuff.

"Alan Hughes approached me this year to see about taking part. I presumed I was playing Peter Pan, how big-headed is that?"

Familiar

Like every other actor involved in a Christmas production, Brian will be spending the majority of his days and nights on the stage over the next month. The major perk, he insists, is that he'll be fit and trim by the end of it.

He's already a familiar face to audiences, having recently appeared in RTE's reality TV show Failte Towers. But this is the first time he's been tempted to tread the boards.

A true home bird when it comes to Christmas, the affable TV star has previously turned down several roles in pantos in Britain because he couldn't bear to miss a festive season with his family in Kildare.

This year, however, Peter Pan solved all his problems.

"I've been offered panto roles before in the UK and I always thought they were a bit naff. Now everybody does them and you see quite a lot of big names taking part so it's quite respected."

He may have passed his 30th birthday, but Brian is still very much a kid at heart.

Describing his usual Christmas ritual, he explained:

"I always go home on December 23.

Shopping

"On Christmas Eve, we all go shopping together and then we head to Christmas Eve Mass.

"Then we get the living room ready and I'm normally in bed by midnight. Even now, my presents are still left on the same armchair as they always were and I'm always up early to get them!"

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