Mrs Brown's Boys star Paddy Houlihan tells of heartbreak of being 'knocked for six' after pal's death - Mrs Brown's Boys

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Mrs Brown's Boys star Paddy Houlihan tells of heartbreak of being 'knocked for six' after pal's death

Exclusive: The Dubliner, who plays Agnes’ son Dermot, said acting allowed him to switch off when he needed to


Mrs Brown's Boys stars Paddy Houlihan and Danny O'Carroll



Actor Paddy Houlihan said his work helped him cope after two of his friends died by suicide.

The Mrs Brown’s Boys star added their deaths came out of nowhere and he was “knocked for six”.

The Dubliner, who plays Agnes’ son Dermot, said acting allowed him to switch off when he needed to.

He told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “It is times like that I thank God I work doing what I do. Once you are on stage, you just have to get on with it.

“One friend was 24 and that was in 2007, it was a bolt from the blue and we didn’t see it coming. My other friend would have been 35, that was only two years ago and knocked me for six.”



Mrs Brown's Boys (Image: BBC)


Paddy and his co-star Danny O’Carroll were forced to fly back to Ireland while on tour in Scotland to attend the funeral and that is something he will never forget.

They later dedicated their performance that night to their friends.

He said: “I was in Glasgow working when my first friend died and I came home for the funeral. Danny, who plays Buster, and I share the same friends.

“We both came back and I did a reading at the funeral but we had to catch a flight because I had a show in Glasgow that night.

“We got back to Glasgow and Brendan O’Carroll met us at the stage door and gave us a hug. I got on with the show and I was fine the whole way through.

“At the end of the show we said, ‘We are dedicating tonight to a friend’.

“The show just keeps you ticking over and it is a distraction. You can’t think of anything else other than the show and Brendan terrorising in front of a couple of thousand people.”

Paddy has now teamed up with the Buddy Up and Make The Call campaign to encourage people to support each other throughout this crisis.

He said: “The campaign struck a chord with me after losing my friends.

“There was that agonising thing inside questioning if you had made the call would it have made a difference?

“You go over and over things in your head. I looked through my phone afterwards and we texted to meet. He was always busy and I was busy. I’m sure it’s the same with everyone.” Now that his group of friends experienced such loss, they rallied around each other during lockdown.

(L-R) Agnes Brown (BRENDAN O'CARROLL), Buster Brady (DANNY O'CARROLL), Dermot Brown (PADDY HOULIHAN) (Image: BBC/Alan Peebles)



Paddy added: “People seem to be more aware. If you are feeling alone, a phone call can make a huge difference.”

The suicide rate among men is almost four times higher than women and Paddy said perhaps men find it harder to speak out and share their emotions.

He added: “I don’t know if men take the advice or if they talk about their feelings.

“We always need to be doing more. There are people looking out for each other more than before. Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean that what is going on behind the scenes is all OK.”

Paddy loves playing Dermot on Mrs Brown’s Boys and he confessed it has been hard being away from his cast mates during lockdown. He said: “The last thing we did was All Round to Mrs Brown’s in January or February and we would have expected to be back out on tour again in May or June. I couldn’t tell you what half of them look like.”

However, things haven’t always been so rosy on the show for Paddy, especially when its creator Brendan O’Carroll gets the better of him.

He recalled: “We were based in Waterford for a week and there was one scene where Danny came on stage and it was supposed to be empty.

“But Brendan forgot where he was supposed to be. He wasn’t supposed to be on stage but he wouldn’t leave the stage in order for the scene to continue. We tried to coax him off the stage but he managed to turn his mistake into our mistake in front of everyone. He is an artist at doing that.

“I was watching Liverpool in the green room of The Olympia in Dublin.

“One of the lads said, ‘Are you not supposed to be on’ and I said, ‘No’. There was a monitor above the TV and there was Danny waiting for me.

“When it dawned on me I went running but I had to pass Brendan to get on stage. He gave me this look, I couldn’t even describe it. I would have preferred a kick in the arse. I will never make a mistake like that again.

“He is relentless, he is always up to something and you can’t relax when he is around you.”

And how has he been spending his time with his wife Emily and their two daughters?

Paddy said: “It has been strange trying to find ways to stay busy and doing DIY. I have been trying my hand at gardening and making b******s of everything.”

Cycle Against Suicide is encouraging people to Buddy Up and Make The Call. By caring and sharing our time during this difficult period, not only are we supporting and inspiring each other, we are cultivating healthier minds by pushing back against the mental health challenges that can reveal themselves and at times turn tragic.




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