After Hours. Willow Hannigan (James Tarpey). Copyright: Jellylegs
After Hours

After Hours (2015)

  • TV sitcom
  • Sky One
  • 2015
  • 6 episodes (1 series)

Sitcom about an 18 year old music lover who's just had his heart broken for the first time. Set around an internet radio station. Stars James Tarpey, Laura Woodward, Lewis Henry, Jaz Martin, Jaime Winstone and more.

Ardal O'Hanlon interview

After Hours. Image shows from L to R: Ollie (Rob Kendrick), Lauren (Jaime Winstone), Willow Hannigan (James Tarpey). Copyright: Jellylegs
After Hours. Peter Hannigan (Ardal O'Hanlon). Copyright: Jellylegs

Why did you want to be part of After Hours?

I found it refreshingly warm and funny, and moving. It's a bit different - the comedy is not in your face. The writers weren't afraid to go for the real emotion and it's got a genuine quality to it. It's truthful.

The writers, Molly Naylor and John Osborne, are relative newcomers. Was working with new talent part of the appeal?

Yes. I hadn't heard of Molly and John but having read the scripts, I got a tingling feeling in my stomach. But one of the big things that really swung it for me was that they were using great music on the soundtrack.

What was it like working with Craig Cash?

He has got such a lovely manner and such integrity. He's been responsible for great comedy over the years.

What can you tell us about your character Peter?

Peter is a little bit odd. He is our hero Willow's dad and he's an unemployed milkman. He's recently lost his milk round and so he's a little bit upset with milk. But he's a good guy and he's got a lot of dignity. He doesn't let his disappointments overcome him in any way and I think that's something that comes into all the characters in the show. They live in a town that's in decline and they could easily become angry and bitter but they don't. They get on with life. They are all very positive characters and they appreciate the good things like family and community and, of course, good music.

In the show, Willow has reached a crossroads in his life. Can you remember being 18 and feeling a bit directionless?

I think it lasted about 20 years for me! Everything just seems magnified at that age. Everything is either the best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world. You have raging torrents of emotion at all times.

I do remember that when you are in love, or think you are, it just consumes your every waking moment. People talk about heartache and I can remember that kind of ache deep in the pit of your stomach. It was a real physical pain. I think this show definitely touches on those feelings.

What was the atmosphere like on set? Did you get on well with the rest of the cast?

Everyone was such a joy to work with. It was a pleasure to work with John Thomson, I've been a fan of his for many years and he's a naturally very funny bloke. I loved the other cast members too and James is great as Willow.

After Hours. Peter Hannigan (Ardal O'Hanlon). Copyright: Jellylegs

Have you passed on much any words of wisdom to James?

Not really. He's very instinctive and very natural. The others are the same. Jaime [Winstone] is really sparky and Rob [Kendrick], who plays Ollie, has got such a lovely manner and style. Susan [Cookson], who plays my wife, is brilliant as well.

And music is very important in the series, isn't it?

The soundtrack is integral. It's a really big part of it. The show is about outsiders and people who are defiant against the odds and this type of music is outsider music for the most part. It's people doing things for themselves and not worrying about what other people think. You've got artists in there who are totally outside of the mainstream and I think that's really important to the show.

What was the first album you bought?

Possibly the first album by The Boomtown Rats. I think I was a year too late for punk and so my formative years in terms of music was the first year of the new wave and I think The Boomtown Rats were Ireland's leading representative in that genre.

What sound best sums up your youth?

It was possibly X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents. That was the first record I wore out from playing it too much.

Who is your musical hero?

That's one of those impossible questions to answer because it changes about 10 times in a day. I love Neil Young and people like that but, by the same token, I love The Stranglers and ]Johnny Cash.

One of the questions that Ollie asks Willow in his interview is whether he can think of any cover versions that are better than the original. Can you?

There is an Irish band called Something Happens which did a brilliant version of ABBA's Take a Chance on Me.

Which radio station do you listen to?

Radio 4.

Peter loses his job because of the supermarket that comes to the town. Do you have any gripes
with how the world is changing?

I find going into a town centre and seeing shops that offer cash for gold rather than shops selling prime cuts of sirloin steak very depressing. I don't know the answer to all that but it would be fantastic to see our town centres regenerated.

Obviously you've had huge success with Father Ted, My Hero and your stand-up shows - where do you think your affinity with comedy has come from?

I come from a part of the world where everyone is actually very deadpan by nature. No one gives anything away in terms of emotion or colours their language very much. I always found that quite amusing. I was never one of those people who were slaves to television as kids and consumed by comedy from a very early age. I had a wide range of interests but I knew from an early age that life was absurd and the only way to go on was to ridicule everything.

What's your karaoke song?

Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash.

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015

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