Comic Ardal gets serious about acting
HE made his name as a comedian, but Ardal O'Hanlon is keen to broaden his acting horizons.
The Father Ted star has become the latest funnyman from our shores to pick up an acting gig in the UK after landing a part in Channel 4's new drama, Cucumber.
O'Hanlon's new eight-part series, which has just started filming in Manchester, will see the 48-year-old show a more serious side to his personality.
Cucumber is the latest project from the BAFTA-winning writer of Queer As Folk and Doctor Who, Russell T Davies.
It tells the story of 46-year-old Henry (Vincent Franklin) and his boyfriend Lance (Cyril Nri) whose comfortable existence is shattered after the most disastrous date night in history.
Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh also features.
O'Hanlon, from Co Monaghan, has been taking on a range of jobs in recent years in order to branch out and show his versatility.
In addition to Cucumber, he has been cast in the forthcoming Sky1 comedy, After Hours.
He will appear alongside John Thomson and Jaime Winstone in the six-part sitcom, set in a small town in Northern England.
It follows 18-year-old music fan Willow, played by newcomer James Tarpey, who has just suffered his first heartbreak.
O'Hanlon, best-known as Father Dougal McGuire in Channel 4's Father Ted, will play Willow's father Peter, an unemployed former milkman.
The series will be directed by The Royle Family's Craig Cash and is scheduled to air next year.
Earlier this year, O'Hanlon's career enjoyed a further boost when he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor at the Laurence Olivier Awards for his performance in The Weir in the West End.
The play, written by Conor McPherson, is set in a rural Irish pub where the locals begin to compete over a mysterious woman.
It was first produced in 1997 and revived last year with a cast including Brian Cox, Dervla Kirwan and Moone Boy's Peter McDonald.