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Sunday 8 December 2019

'Bottler' Brendan Grace can still attract bumper audience

The funeral of Brendan Grace in the Liberties, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
The funeral of Brendan Grace in the Liberties, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

Legendary comedian Brendan Grace is still a huge crowd-puller, nearly two months on from his death.

The first of the three-part series aired on RTE on Monday night and attracted an average of 375,100 viewers, which was the equivalent of a 32pc share of the available audience.

At one point, a high of 640,000 people tuned in to see the Liberties great known as 'Bottler' again on the small screen.

Intimate

Called Brendan Grace - Thanks For The Memories, the series brings together some intimate and unique footage of the entertainer during the final few months of his life.

In February, he decided to set himself a challenge and return to the Olympia for one night only.

He planned to stage a show with the Forget-Me-Nots choir, a community choir for those affected by dementia.

The RTE series, which met with an emotional reaction from viewers online, delved behind the scenes to document the emotional journey he embarks upon to bring his dream to fruition.

Brendan Grace. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Brendan Grace. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

However, the whole focus of the documentary suddenly changed with his heartbreaking cancer diagnosis, as the series then portrayed a man fighting for his life.

He died on July 11 at the age of 68 after a valiant battle with cancer but he decided to keep shooting the documentary right up until his final days.

At the start of the first episode, Grace introduced the programme with a heartbreaking piece to camera recorded days before his death.

"Hiya folks, this is Brendan Grace here," he said.

"Not as well as I usually am, but I set out to do a documentary, and I wanted to dedicate it to Alzheimer's/dementia.

"I'm glad we're going ahead with it, even though I'm not well.

"I'd like to be here when it's over, but I want you to enjoy it. I had hoped to be in better condition doing it, but I don't have to be in better condition - you have.

"The title of it is, Thanks For The Memories. Love you all."

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