I’ll have you squealing like a hedgehog in a Clandeboye fishtank: NI comedy Dry Your Eyes parodies Ted Hastings from Line of Duty
Dry Your Eyes – the show which brought the McDowell brothers, Derek the Linfield fan and the heckler who was “only sleggin’” to our screens – will return on Monday with a new cast of up-and-coming actors and writers.
It has been 15 years since the Hole in the Wall Gang, also responsible for Give My Head Peace, introduced us to their comic creations in the Dry Your Eyes sketch show.
And now with Michael McDowell in the director’s chair, and Tim McGarry and Damon Quinn in producer roles, they have paved the way for Niamh McAllister from Bangor, Michael Stranney from Fermanagh, Bernadette Brown from north Belfast, Diona Doherty from Londonderry and Cailum Carragher from Newtownhamilton.
Explaining how he landed the job, Cailum said: “They did an open call – they just wanted funny people, there was no age range or look or type. It had to just be Northern Ireland.
“It was a proper dream come true to work with the lads from the Hole in the Wall Gang.”
Rehearsals took place in St Anne’s Cathedral and the half-hour pilot show was filmed in just six days.
Damon said: “The idea was to clear the table and look for new acting and writing talent – something fresh and new.
“If we’re Star Trek, this is the Next Generation. Sometimes it feels as though we’ve been around for as long as the Star Trek franchise.”
He added: “We’ve written a couple of sketches but the vast bulk of it has been contributed by new writers.
“In Niamh McAllister, who is one of the actresses in it, we have one of those rare breeds – a writer-performer, she’s amazing.
“The great thing about all five [of the performers] is they brought extra stuff to the party. They made the characters come alive, each one of them produced the goods in their own individual way.”
One of Cailum’s characters is a detective who coaxes confessions due to his baffling Northern Irish colloquialisms – a send-up of Ted Hastings from Line of Duty, played by Adrian Dunbar.
“Did I come up the Mournes on a unicycle?” he asks a suspect in one scene, followed by “I’ll have you squealing like a hedgehog in a Clandeboye fishtank”.
Cailum said: “That was the hardest monologue to learn of my life and I’ve done Shakespeare. There’s no train of thought, you’re just spitting nonsense but it works.”
Damon added: “That sketch was from a new writer Peter Davidson.
“It was one of the sketches that came in and we thought, ‘this is brilliant, why didn’t we think of that’.”
Summing up the show, Damon said: “Although the characters speak with Northern Ireland accents, the themes and the characterisations are universal. It’s the pearls of modern life we all have to contend with, and the cringeworthy characters we meet along the way.”
• Dry Your Eyes is on BBC One NI on Monday at 10.35pm
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