Paul Moriarty: From County Kilburn to Albert Square

August 20, 2020 00:53:27
Paul Moriarty: From County Kilburn to Albert Square
The Plastic Podcasts
Paul Moriarty: From County Kilburn to Albert Square
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Show Notes

Actor Paul Moriarty has been a constant in our lives, whether with The Gentle Touch, Ashes To Ashes, Pride and Prejudice or as George Palmer in EastEnders. He has also had a distinguished theatre career, working with Caryl Churchill, Alan Bennett, Peter Brook and Lindsay Anderson, to name just four.

Not bad for a boy from County Kilburn…

Plus Bridget Whelan raises Shane McGowan onto The Plastic Pedestal

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:22 How are you doing? I'm Doug <inaudible> and you're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora. We all come from somewhere else, seek us out and subscribe to [email protected] here on the plastic podcasts. I get the privilege of talking to old friends and making new ones. It's a bit of both with Paul Moriarty. We've only properly met the ones, but I feel like I've known him most of my life. However, that's probably down to the fact he's been in the corner of my living room for so long, whether it's on ashes to ashes life on Mars, a touch of frost, pride, and prejudice, or indeed, most notably as George Palmer on EastEnders in the theater. He's worked with writers, David Hare, Tony Harrison, Carol Churchill, and Alan Bennett, as well as directors, Peter Brook, Trevor Nunn, Peter Hall, and Lindsay Anderson. And it all started by being sent to boarding school, to improve his voice by rich godfather. However, still Wikipedia insists that he is best known for a Cockney accent. Speaker 2 00:01:17 That's the genius of Wikipedia. Oh, he was in EastEnders. So he's known what about my time at the Royal Shakespeare Shakespeare Shakespeare company? Speaker 1 00:01:30 It wasn't always the case. I mean, you're quite known for a variety of, Speaker 2 00:01:34 Well, it was rather odd because I was brought up or dragged up in County, killed them with Irish parents. And, uh, I had a father who didn't have any children and he kind of semi adopted me and said that I should be sent away to learn how to speak proper English. And so I was sent to something Abbott's, which is a village of something just along the coast here to learn how to speak proper. Uh, and I felt fairly constrained, but a little bit, I managed to pull it off because you thought if you had to have a sort of a boarding school, you're going to be a ribbed mercilessly. So I think I learned to speak reasonable English quite quickly. Uh, and then I went up to Manchester university and I felt free again because everybody was, you know, all right, love the hell are you doing and all that. Speaker 2 00:02:26 So it tends to that. It's a, such an extent that when, uh, they wanted someone to play God in Tony Harrison's mysteries at the national theater, I got a call from, they said, can you get down here this afternoon and audition? I said, well, I can't read the Bible that quickly. And they said, no, no. It's just that Tony Harrison says, God has to come from Yorkshire. So get an Atmos out and find a little obscure village in Yorkshire and say, that's where you come from. Hello, Tony. He's an incredibly nice man. But every time I used to see the national, that'd be cool to somebody and saying, Oh, what are you having? Oh, just don't hello, Tony. Hey, they all right. Uh, to convince him he wants from Yorkshire. So yes, accents in this country on it. My, uh, my godfather was probably right. Speaker 2 00:03:12 It's uh, you don't need to be that intelligent. You just need to be able to speak properly so that the doors of the clubs open to you, are you a natural mimic? No, I don't. I think, uh, not being very bright. So I was one of those boys who fooled around a bit at school and that's probably another protective thing. Isn't it? A lot of people say that if you can make people laugh, you're kind of protected. And then violet cause people like you. So yeah, I'd probably mimic teachers and things like many other boys did that didn't necessarily mean because you're a mimic that you are going to become an actor or if you're not a mimic, I mean, the best way to make money really is speak muscle kind and talk about that for the whole of your life or Sean Connery to be in films, American films, and just speak like that. I'm not changing my accent, you know, identified as one particular thing. I'm a top, top casting will be years ago when I was almost first starting. And she said, your trouble is really, is that you're too versatile. You don't sort of fit into a particular slot so that when we're looking for somebody we know immediately to go for somebody and then four or five actors down the line, if we're stuck, we'll say, well, you know, Paul could do it. So why don't we get him? But he's not really the one we want Speaker 3 00:04:27 This, is that a kind of, um, summary of your life as well? Do you feel that you never really fitted? Speaker 2 00:04:34 Uh, yes I do. And I, it's very odd that I often don't feel that I fit as an actor quite often in a room full of actors, as you sometimes get. I remember the national, we began to do a whole lot of plays from the studio theater and they had a big launch party for it. The room was full of actors and one of the directors, Peter Gill, most that I was about to pass out because I just felt that, yeah, it was <inaudible> what are you doing now? And all that. I just wasn't part of it. So my subterfuge of learning how to speak correctly and what have you doesn't really go that deep. I think I'm still a Kilbane lead underneath it all. Speaker 3 00:05:16 That's a Kilburn lad who started off with a strong Irish accent. Yes. Speaker 2 00:05:20 Uh, well, I was seven when I was sent away. So it was fairly strong yet. Kilbane Irish X or slightly Cockney, slightly Irish. Yeah. But my parents had come from tree cutting middle where they talk like sort of, um, agricultural kind of farming people. And they usually the bottom of many jokes in Ireland. But when we came over to London, it turned into more of a Dublin kind of action. But by the time I was seven or so, I picked up the idea of the speak proper quite quickly as a defensive mechanism. And, uh, I lost my Irish accent. My father lost his two. He joined the merchant Navy during the war and quickly thought to be accepted again by everybody that were the people on ship that he should speak with a sort of election, which he did for his whole life. Speaker 3 00:06:07 Let's go back to your parents, your parents, you say both came from Chile. Um, but I understand they met in this country. Speaker 2 00:06:15 Yeah. It's like, uh, like most Irish people, they heard a fight was going on in England. So they joined before the war. You'd have a, I have no idea why my mother came over there. The father, which I did, I didn't find this out until I was in my late thirties. When we read a baptism or something. Usually you see that woman over there, that's your granddad's other daughter. And they'd never been mentioned before. So I think that something had happened that he had left the home, which, you know, in Ireland, in those days, 1936 or whatever, it was quite a thing to do and gone off with another woman. And my mother came over here where they were and some people, their various uncles had moved to England to get jobs. But the story by my father is that he had a younger brother who went to, um, Christian brothers school. And, uh, he heard that one of the Christian brothers was behaving rather badly as others tended to do sometimes. And he went up to the school and laid this man out. Right. Just hit him. And that meant he and all his brothers had to leave the village or literally, Speaker 3 00:07:23 Right. So they were both kind of one way or another kind of exhaled from Julie. Speaker 2 00:07:27 Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, he's brother joined the Royal Navy. Tom was a light boxing weight champion and subsequently became a policeman and seemed to put that skill to good use up in Colby steel town, which used to get very rough on a Friday. And, uh, while the John went to Korea, my uncle Paris joined the army and actually came back with a German bride, which, um, ostracized him for a bit. You, we were outside, she beautiful woman looked a bit like Ingrid Bergman and, uh, but never really assimilated into the family properly. We used to have big news on boxing day when all the Irish, diaspora from Kilburn would come up with their bottles and things and seeing Irish rebel songs and dance, and auntie cat, very frail lady used to eat the tea cups would recite a poem and everybody would be quiet while she recited the poem. And then murder and mayhem would break out again, as kids used to hide under the table and just see these feet, stomping pastors and everything getting more and more chaotic. It's wonderful, Speaker 3 00:08:43 Happy memories of Kilburn. Then Speaker 2 00:08:45 Very happy memories of kill them. The, um, the prefab, we had had a garden and we had lovely neighbors, although they were fairly English. So we did feel outside that, uh, uh, went to, uh, a convent school up in Wilston green. Um, God, what was it? Mary and Joseph school. And the nuns actually were incredibly kind to us. So, uh, and then, then I was, uh, when my godfather came along and said, I had to learn how to speak properly. Uh, they found out that the school I was going to was a Protestant school and I was holed up in front of the class. And this nun who had been wonderful to this boy is going to a Protestant school, take a good look at him. And I had no idea what was going on. So, you know, we used to have to go to confession at the age of six and you'd all be sitting there thinking, Oh God, I've got to think of something that I've done wrong. That will impress him. But I can't think of anything. Speaker 1 00:09:53 Dave, Allen's sketch. If I remember it's um, it's yeah. See size says you're you're seven years old. You're trying to think desperately things in face. I saw Mary McGuire stickers Speaker 2 00:10:04 And I was wearing them. Yeah. Observational comedy. That's a, that is absolutely true. You would be, see this voice spine that's cut and you know, four or five years old, it was, it was really spooky. Uh, Catholic church was quite spooky. You're taking the, the thing that your first Holy communion, that piece of bread that's meant to be the body of Christ. Uh, yeah, you didn't really know what was going on, but you were doing it because everybody else had to do it. I mean, good luck to anybody who has a belief. That's a very comforting thing. I imagined whether you're Muslim or Jewish or whatever, it might be seek goodest to have something to believe in this wonderful. Uh, I have to believe in the beauty and wonderment of life to having a Tory government, trying to think there's so much going on in the world. Speaker 2 00:10:57 And, uh, it's just a mystery, but the people want to believe that. And that's fine. As long as you know, I was working in Northern Ireland doing a play about four or five years ago, and the landlady said, uh, I said, you know, is there anywhere I shouldn't really go and she's Oh, no, that's all over emotional more than that here. But I wouldn't go to any of the pubs of that side of the bridge. I said, I thought you said it was all over. Well, it is, but I wouldn't go. And then when you go round in the black taxi rides, which take you to see all the murals and what have you, you realize how it will never end school. Kids are going past these murals and martyrs and saints and candles, and God knows what, uh, it's always going to be underneath there. Speaker 1 00:11:50 You're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora Speaker 3 00:11:54 Seek us [email protected] Paula Moriarty's parents may have both come from Trilly, but they met in England in this section. I get to talk to him about his family. And in particular, his grandfather, I'm gonna to, I'm going to running this across to your parents and coming into England during the war, because all, yeah, it's like a roundabout. The time that that war broke out, which must've been, I don't know if they talked about it as, as a family and so forth, but it must've been odd to a certain extent and coming across from Ireland, which decided that it was going to be a neutral country, uh, in the second world war we're fighting for both Speaker 2 00:12:30 The English. Uh, yeah. Well, my grandfather was, uh, in the IRA during the, you know, 1917 or, and he used to, Oh, Tommy, Tommy was a good man. I have a drink with Tommy, but the black and tans, and they really hated the way the black tans treated the country. And actually that was good for the rebels because it showed him in a very bad light as did, when they martyred the people from the post office, a rebellion, a lot of people in Dublin didn't want to split from England. They were quite happy, but when they started hanging and shooting people, uh, of course there was a great vehemence against the British government. But as you say, how odd to come over here and, uh, join the merchant Navy in my father's case and the Royal Navy and his brother's case, do they cause any friction? My grandfather, of course, was, um, he moved over here and he couldn't understand eventually why the British government found out that he was getting a, a gov, uh, pension from devil Lira in Ireland and another pension from the British. They stopped me pension. Well, you paint living here for about 40 years now. That's not right. It was not right. Speaker 2 00:13:48 So yeah, he, uh, he found it difficult, but my, my father wasn't a into all that law was my mother, uh, you know, the, uh, the divides and they used to say, even the Catholics are mad at, and none of our family ever went to Northern Ireland. I was the first one and I was in my late fifties when I got a job in Belfast, first member of the whole family to ever set foot into dangerous waters of more than Ireland. Wow. Speaker 3 00:14:17 That's cool. How did you move into interacting? Speaker 2 00:14:20 Oddly enough, the nuns used to put on a school play and I was always chosen to be other the Fox in red riding hood or the leader of the shepherds in the nativity play or whatever. So I got a slight hankering for it then, and at the boarding school, it was a band called Mr. Bell ding dong on bowl. And he insisted on people reading poetry out loud in class. And I, I really enjoyed it. It felt good, you know, often won the form prize or whatever. And then I went to a university college called enhanced day public school, uh, which my father was now paying the fees. And, uh, it was quite a struggle, but, uh, I had, uh, one of those teachers, one of those dreadful teachers, Mr. McGregor, who, uh, got us again to speak out loud in class and put me in the school play. Speaker 2 00:15:20 And again, I'm, I'm getting a stone in, that's it better? Uh, so yeah, I picked it up there and I w I didn't, I wasn't very academic. So I was going up to Manchester to do general arts, you know, which is a bit of everything. And when I got there, there's this old church in the corner and it had drama written above it. And I went in, I didn't need to do drama at university, so Oh, yeah. And they said, as a matter of fact, two, the two students haven't turned up this year, do you want to apply? And I said, yeah, all right, well, the profs not busy at the moment. Do you want to go see it? And I suppose not thinking about it is one of the best ways to do things. I went in and he said, Oh, what do you know about restoration comedy? Speaker 2 00:16:06 And I said, well, I have no idea. So, but, um, I'm very willing to learn about it. And he got me to do, uh, I think it was once more after I breached their friends once more. And, uh, he said, yeah, he said, uh, I liked your cheek. You said, we have got a spare place. So why don't you join? And that was made done for, I phoned up my mum and dad and that's, Oh, Christ. You're going to be one of those people wandering around in tights pretending to be a tree. And I said, well, you know, it's a BA honors degree as opposed to general arts one. So it's a step up. Yeah. But it's not going to lead anywhere. Is it? You'll be able to ask for the Dole in a ROTEM terms, but that's about it for you. Isn't it. And, uh, actually after that, they came to see every single player I was in. It was just, I didn't appreciate at the time, but whether I was in Bolton or Manchester or Liverpool, Coventry, Stratford, that they would come drive up and come and see it. Wonderful, wonderful support. Speaker 3 00:17:07 So we talked about that, that thing about, so being a working class actor and being in that cause what kind of era where we talking here that the sixties, Speaker 2 00:17:15 Ooh, yeah. Sixties. Um, some actors are brilliant. Oh, do you remember when 78 when we were in LA? I can never remember that, but it was the late sixties, but 1966, I think I left university. Speaker 3 00:17:27 So, so that whole, <inaudible> that whole thing of you're talking to your parents and it's, it's, it's, there's a certain resistance as, as a working class family to this notion of saying, well, you'll not get anywhere. This isn't a job. This isn't a career. It's a craft. When are you going to get a proper job son? Speaker 2 00:17:44 That's the thing that people still say, did you ever want a proper job? Uh, yeah. And, uh, yeah, Manchester was liberating vocally for me, uh, because I didn't have to speak like that. And of course I never went to Robin and mixed with a lot of people who did speak like that and were trained to speak like that. Um, we used to put on plays every Monday in a little studio workshop, different people would write plays and they'd ask you if you want to be in it. And then, uh, one of the tutors said during the summer, all the theaters, it matched the closed down because people are on holiday, on, it's not sustainable. So we'll start our own theater, uh, university theater. And, uh, we put on plays. So we learn by doing it rather than by being taught, how to pick up the phone in an interesting way and put it down and do all that kind of thing. So, yeah, they've been a lot of us about to a lot of, a lot of working class boys and women, women actually would mainly upper class. I hadn't thought of that until just now they were sustained by the fairly wealthy parents. Whereas, you know, maybe as it was like, I don't want to be a boxer to get out of this. So I'll become an act. Speaker 3 00:19:04 You mentioned a little earlier that your father's accent changed as well. Doesn't it? Speaker 2 00:19:08 He decided very early on that the whole parochial thing of Ireland and Pete and, you know, women dressed in black and all this kind of caper. It wasn't them. I think maybe he was 18 at the Royal Navy and he'd been to Rio de Janeiro, uh, New York. So we had lots of, uh, jazz records by, uh, black singers and musicians in our house. Nat King Cole was the favorite of my mother's. So he was already a little thought of the amount of the world and many aspects, if you like. And as a salesman, he went up North, uh, all over the place. So he didn't feel like he was maybe it's because of a Lambda kind of thing. I think he thought he was his own man and he didn't need the church and he didn't need the Irish kind of old my God and all the bloom and gloom. He went to a funeral, they used to be professional mourners. You know, these, all these old ladies used to turn up at the back with their roles. Oh my God, HRV. It was a lovely man. My dad used to say, Oh, I know, but there's people dying today that had died before you really? Speaker 2 00:20:19 But my, my grandfather was, um, laid in state in quotes road with the tricolor with the Irish flag on his coffin, because he'd been thought of the Republican army. And he was taken in the hearse, uh, through Kilburn high road and hardly anybody took any notice because the, uh, the IRA had paraded through Kilburn high road. I used to collect money down there with the Berets and the black glasses and what have you. But as we turned the corner to go to the Kensal rise creme at all the two black guys on the corner, and they both stopped and gave the fist as we went past. And I, I suddenly realized, yeah, it's funny old man was actually a freedom fighter at one time. But when we got to the grave, there was a young priest there and he refused to bury him with the flag on the coffin. Speaker 2 00:21:10 And there were these guys who actually were in trench coats and Trilby hats moved out of the mist and struggled with the priest, with his flag. And in the end gave up and said, you know, Michael Hurley, upstairs lights. So that Island may be free and we can hang our heads up high. And my mum and dad of course, were looking at the graph, great embarrassment. And these guys came back to the house and sat separately in the kitchen, drinking the Jamieson while the rest of the mortars went into the living room. And I just sat there and talked about the old and I, I regret there's huge swathes of history that where the culturally or not they didn't talk about. They didn't really, they sang the songs. And what have you and talked about the filter, the black and tans and devil era and Collins. Speaker 2 00:22:03 I had a, they weren't real uncles, but uncle Patty and my grandfather didn't speak because they were on opposite sides of the civil war. Uh, my grandfather was devil era and the other man was Collins. And they both lived in Kilburn. They both attended weddings and funerals and baptisms, and they never spoke to each other for the whole of their lives. So they brought with them and that was what my father didn't want to do. He said, there's a whole new life. The war is over. Ireland is over and let's face things and get on with it. Although he loved going back as a kid, we were always going back to Ireland. Uh, and part of me, I just feel Irish. I can't help it, that my son feels the same. Speaker 3 00:22:49 I'm going to carry on a little bit on along this line, by the time you're growing up, you're in the, in the, in the late sixties and you start your acting career and you go across the Coventry and yo you're working in, in Manchester and Liverpool and around the North and the Midlands and so forth. And then all of a sudden here comes to the early seventies and the, and the bombing campaign starts. Speaker 2 00:23:09 And, Speaker 3 00:23:09 And obviously given your, your, your family background, that must be, I I'm presuming that was quite a divisive time Speaker 2 00:23:16 From my grandfather, sort of through the family. They wanted nothing to do with targeting civilians. He said he was fighting the British army, which he, which he was and the other, not of joined to the British forces. Uh, so this idea of, uh, setting bombs off where there might be, uh, children and commissioners who around below most of the bombs were set off late at night, outside self, which is what heavy. But I, I came down once I went to Manchester and I was going to be met by my friend, Shawn Barrett. And I couldn't see him anywhere. And I was phoning him, but didn't have mobile phones. And I saw all these people rushing past, and two of them were nuns and somebody said, get out of the station. And I suddenly realized this was serious. I got out through the front door. I saw Sean. Speaker 2 00:24:12 I said, Sean, which was not the wisest thing to shout at the army people there. And suddenly this Corona went off. It wasn't like bang. It was like an implosion. And the only injury was a Chinese man. Who'd been in the takeaway opposite where the phone booth was actually, and the bomb had gone off near there and the glass had shattered and he was killed because he didn't know what was going on. He just stayed behind. Uh, but, but yeah, I was, I was nearly killed by bombs in those times. And we heard them going off and killed. We could hear the boom at night and thinking, this is, this is tough. You know, what, if they want to do it when they bombed the railway or something and bring London to still, uh, what, what are they actually doing? Just nibbling. And of course, when they bombed that West, that's when the British really got around the table and started talking to them that they should have done that if they were doing a war, they should have done that much, much earlier, but w none of our family, although they'd been brought up with the black and tans and seen terrible atrocities in Ireland, a lot of them living around the cork area and Carey, uh, none of them favored bombing of civilians, or they saw it. Speaker 2 00:25:33 Wasn't actually true because a lot of, uh, IRA supporters did come to sell some, the sending money. And they did collect in Kilburn high road. And, uh, if you've got a bloke in a barrier acting saying you have what, eight or the cause, uh, you weren't like to say no piss off. Uh, so yeah, there was what they did. I think, see it as something that was coming from Northern Ireland, rather than they felt that they'd had their battle, they'd won independence. And now it was a Northern islands to, which was strange way of thinking. But I think that's what was going on. Speaker 1 00:26:07 <inaudible>, you're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else. This is the section where I ask one of my guests to raise up on the plastic pedestal, a member of the diaspora, a personal or cultural significance this week is Bridget Whelan. And she starts off with a small dilemma. Speaker 2 00:26:33 And I had a very clear in my head. And then my youngest son, I was just talking, telling him about it. When you said this one is, Speaker 4 00:26:44 You know, what are you really thinking about it for? It has to be Shane McGowan. He was just used the sound of it. And it would be a sort of connection with my sons because they would appreciate that he, they, he belongs to them and he belongs to me and he belongs to London. Irish. When did you first hear the pokes? I was going out with my husband, Mike, and he, he was very into music and I lived in his lane term and, um, he took me along tool pub hope, a hope and anchor in his LinkedIn. And because it was an Irish band playing called poke my home. And we went there and he was so pleased with the night and everything else. And, uh, afterwards we saw them before they changed the name. Um, Kate Reardon, um, was the drama on it. Um, they were brilliant also when that would have been about 82, I'm guessing something like that. So of course, yeah, they, and their sound is the, they captured what it meant to be honest, because, you know, you know, using the songs that we grew up on, plus the rhythms and the grew up to translate it into that kind of new wave music, which was absolutely heavy on the nail. Yeah. So it is, has to be Shane McGowan. My other choice was going to be Elvis Costello, but, um, I think Shane fits, Speaker 3 00:28:14 There's a crossover with them as well. Isn't there? Speaker 4 00:28:16 Yes. Uh, Elvis Costello produced the great album that, um, um, rum sodomy and the lash I'll discuss that is fantastic. Um, musician and a very important contribution to music and another part of the 20th century, 21st century. Um, and there's connection with him, um, is that my husband, um, was part of his very first, well, I think not sure if it was his first band, but it was the band he had before it became famous. However, once my youngest son nominated Shane Miguel, and I knew it had to be him, what's the quality that just edges it, you know, Murphy's, Murphy's, I've got an advert. We used to have an advert for their, um, stout saying it's a pint of us, Shane gallons music, uh, the Pogues, it's the music of us Speaker 3 00:29:09 That will do very nicely. Bridget Whelan there now back to Paul Moriarty. And in this section, we get to do what all actors love to do and talk about his career. And we talk about how it relates back to his growing up in County Kilburn. So going around with your career, we were going back to voices, I suppose, which is that like, you're, you're a Yorkshire, God, you actually got you actually go. And you, you you're were in Cory quite early on. Yes. You were supposed to come from Lancashire or whatever to be in Korea in those days. But, um, I Speaker 2 00:29:42 Was accepted at crept in, uh, a lot of them came from Olgan breath, actually the actors, I think LC tandem, Dora speed. And people all came from older rep. So they recruited locally. Nowadays, of course they constantly build, they never go out. They don't see things, they just hold people in and say, Oh shit there, the director can't make it. I'm just speaking to the a thing like I'm doing now, and we'll send it off to them. And then they sit around and discuss it. Speaker 3 00:30:13 What, what, what, what is it with the emphasis in this, in this country on voices as character? Um, you know, there's the presumption that the, the, the Birmingham accent is, is, is, you know, it'd be slow, that sort of thing. And, uh, the, uh, the, the, the Manchester accent is it is sharp and harsh, or that the, the Liverpool one's warmer, the Scotts is this or that. And that the characteristics. So given to us Speaker 2 00:30:34 A voice, yeah. I think that's quite often true. You don't get many Birmingham accents on adverts, voice, or plenty of Scottish ones, sort of integrity and support this banker will support you. And yeah, that kind of thing is all right. But Birmingham, the Midlands is not, I was in a, um, a TV thing. It was called general hospital, and I was playing in a hospital, uh, and I was playing a postman and I said, uh, it's um, it's set in the Midlands. Right. And they said, Oh yes, we, we don't want any of those middle. We want to set a to America places. And if you start talking, just use Cockney, you working class postman. So Cockney, right. So that's not an accent we ever use, but we could use Cornwall. And goodness knows what, because that's all some of the soil and it feels honest and warm as you say, an anxious. Uh, it's just strange. I don't know. There's as you say, there's how many axes does it have around the blade? Sussex used to have an accent. Speaker 2 00:31:50 I was in the play at the national with Damian Lewis and I was playing the shipbuilder and they brought a dialect coaching. The idea was, you'll speak with a Sussex accent as a shipbuilder. And I can't really remember it now, but it was, you know, it was sort of slightly, uh, rural and slightly a copy as well. Uh, and I went in to Russell and David Lou said, why, why are you using that accent? I said, well, because they think it would differentiate between you, people who live on top of the Hill. He said, Oh, but your own accent is quite working class enough. Wow. Isn't he? Yes, he is. He should be, he was actually a very nice chap as it sort of went all Speaker 3 00:32:37 Your family moved across didn't. I mean, we, we, we were saying once again, in the preamble that, um, uh, 80% of, of mariachis and are, and can be found in Kerry. Yes. Speaker 2 00:32:47 Uh, from truly, actually from the whole world, they can trace it back to relate. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:32:54 You were telling me it's, it's, it's pretty much the entire family, your immediate family. That's like opt upstairs and went to England. Speaker 2 00:33:01 Yes, yes. Even auntie Debbie and people who were quite elderly by then auntie Eileen or Dick gasoline, they were all in their sort of sixties when they came over, Speaker 3 00:33:13 Punched a Christian brothers. So, um, what do you think? Speaker 2 00:33:18 Yeah, it was work mainly, I think, and after the troubles and goodness knows what the economy was in a really bad state and they didn't particularly, I don't think it well, Mr. Chamberlin didn't believe that wall. And they came over and set up houses in County Kilburn. So, so we were still Irish in soul and feeling my son and I still support Ireland against England, but then who doesn't it rugby? Uh, we go to the fiddlers in Brighton with all the other Irish people in there. But, uh, yeah, it's odd. He was sort of part of something and not thought of something, but that might be true for them. If English people know who moved up a class or whatever, and think I'm part of this, but I'm not part of this. My roots are still somewhere else, Speaker 3 00:34:06 But that's still, so site what you were saying, I suppose, to a certain extent about being a, uh, whether you at school, not feeling as though you quite fitted in, or whether, you know, as a, as an actor, you don't quite fit in as an actor. Speaker 2 00:34:19 No, I, I finished, uh, lots of, uh, working class actors, uh, get on with them fantastically. Well, you're all learning all the time. You're reading different books. You're stuck together, drink together, quite inordinately in the old days. Uh, smoke goodness knows what it was a great sort of party ensemble atmosphere, which, um, has gone a bit. Now it's gone a bit corporate, you know, they closed the bar at the national theater to stop people drinking. They raided backstage to stop the stagehands drinking. Uh, Michael Gambon said, well, actors, I meant to, uh, smoke cigarettes and pitch down the stairs on am, behave badly. And they no, no, no more smoking and dressing rooms. Uh, and there's fear. That's the less jobs more and more. You have to behave yourself and do what you're told. Whereas before you'd had blazing rounds with directors, I don't want to, it doesn't just mean that now they would just be like farting in church or something. It's just not done. Speaker 3 00:35:28 Um, but then I look at your CV again. And I, I say, Oh yeah, David Hare, Tony Harrison, Caryl Churchill, Alan Bennett piece of Brooke, Trevor Nunn, Peter Hall, Lindsay Anderson. We don't it by in retrospect or you don't by it or Speaker 2 00:35:43 Not at all. In retrospect, I should have been maybe in the wasn't, none of us were, they would, they were jobbing people as well. They were directors are on the floor. And if they said something and you disagree, you disagree. And they would point out where you were wrong. Uh, Richard Eyre, you know, he was like a lower six captain of cricket or whatever. It's just a wonderful, one of the brilliant things the director can do is create a wonderful atmosphere where people feel relaxed and all those people you mentioned, uh, and to have, right. We always in all of writers, I think for whatever important you were as an actor to have Caryl Churchill in a room or watching a run through or David Hare, uh, David's story was the one that Lindsay Anderson directed. And I was standing outside the theater one day, we were rehearsing and I said, am I sort of doing it the way you imagined? And he said, no, I wrote this in a little room and, uh, I'd never met you. So you're nothing like I imagined, but you seem to be doing all right. And, uh, and you know, he was an ex rugby league player, David, one of the, one of the accident I happened to be Irish. Speaker 2 00:36:58 You know, I don't have to say this though. I mean, it's very overwritten and the TAVR story stood up and said, perhaps you'd like to discuss that outside. No, no, no, it's fine. I'll say it. I'll say it good. I'm glad to hear it. And he said, so, yeah. I don't think you'd get that nowadays. David has got a great sense of humor. I remember him coming in once and he said, Oh, I've just read in the guardian that people say, Bob Dylan is more important than Keats. I mean, can you imagine? And everybody, all the actors, yeah, that's true. These much more important teachers walked out, but you know, you were allowed to talk to people in those days. I don't know. Bennett was frightening to them and you know, people have this ill when they come into the rehearsal room, uh, directors and hello, good morning and all that. Speaker 2 00:37:59 And I'm, Bennet's coming today. I'll be doing it right. Does he approve, this is his work that we are, you know, it's his baby and have we dropped it. So, yeah. That's great perspective, writers. I mean, anybody who gets an award, it's really an award for the writer. I think, you know, if you can't, if you can't do a good performance with a fantastic script behind you, it's the people in the EastEnders doc, what have you are churning out stuff with sometimes little support behind them, you know, that's, that's acting that's really odd. Did he Speaker 3 00:38:36 Send us, I mean, the visibility of, of EastEnders, the fact that you're there two, three times a week in, in people's living rooms, did that, did that change things? Speaker 2 00:38:47 It was extraordinary. I mean, I've been, uh, a jobbing actor I've been in the gentle touch, which had a certain, um, I don't know, we had maybe 15 million views at one point and, uh, other, other things. But I did a short scene in East end. There's my very first one where I meet Katie and I go out in the street and she runs off to me and say, Oh, are you thinking of moving? And I said, well judging, but what I've seen so far, we'll do that. And I was end of the scene, my wife and I were walking along the sea front in Brighton to meet some people for a meal. And as we walked along, it was like hissing. I suppose it's really is people say EastEnders, EastEnders, standers. And it kind of been on the screen for 15 seconds and I liked it. I enjoyed it. Speaker 3 00:39:44 Any circular thing where I'm concerned, it must be admitted, but, um, voices and this sort of thing, you kind of, you also get to kind of get cast on one side or the other on, um, uh, of the law either. There's a lot of police work or there's not a gangster work going on. Speaker 2 00:39:59 Yeah. It's the same thing. Different wear suits and the gangsters wear slightly louder ties. That's all. But otherwise, otherwise their performance is very much the same in it. Do you want to come outside? I don't want a word with you, but I love a bit gentle touch, uh, driving around London in the car and, uh, been inaction a policeman in action. And he felt like you had armor on you were a copper. So you were invited, which is, of course I imagine dangerous for real competence. Speaker 3 00:40:29 Now some things just occur to me, you're in the gentle touch, which I regret is the early eighties. Yes. Jill gas going. And I think it becomes sizeable later and things like that. Speaker 2 00:40:38 Yeah. She ditched us for cat. So we were going to become the bill, bill Barlow, who played the chief inspector in the gentle touch was also right. And he came up with this idea for the bill, with the wooden tops and Jill gas going on the last night. You know, you always have a party on the last night. And she was in the corner with somebody who said is that instead of the producers from Thames, I think she's, um, she sorted herself out with another series that she doesn't want to be surrounded by men anymore. She wants to have women, but it didn't work out. Katz. It looked bad from being the gentle touch, intelligent, sensitive woman, dealing with people's problems. So running around with a gun, I mean, just like there's no going back, Speaker 3 00:41:27 But then fast forward, a bit further on, on your end ashes to ashes. And, um, Speaker 2 00:41:34 Yeah, I was in one of those as a copper again, Speaker 3 00:41:37 Copper, um, playing a corporate in the eighties, um, where the, where the central character is a woman who's out of. Was that in any way at all? Weird. Speaker 2 00:41:47 No. Say jobbing actually get turned up. It's a day's work. Uh, we got fair bit to learn. You get in. We don't know anybody. You think freeze that out again. You're not part of it. You know what I mean? When you're in EastEnders you up out of it, you know, everybody, you know, the crew, uh, you eat with them and you chat with them. They tell you, you know, sit down more slowly there cause you've been shot or whatever it might be. It's all people in it together. But when you just turn up for a day shooting, it's a, you have to freeze it out. So I'm just here, hit my marks, say the words and get out, Speaker 3 00:42:27 Okay. What, what strikes me is that? So you really enjoy the ensemble aspect of things. The uh, the, the group aspect Speaker 2 00:42:33 From the word go. Cause when you're in rep, you know, there's maybe 15 actors you're working rehearsing every day, then finish it up as five and then go on and do the play in the evening, go back and wanting it to ready for 10 o'clock and rehearse the next place. So you're working constantly with a group of people. They occasionally brought in sort of stars from London, those sort of box office selling, but mainly it was the same people down there. And of course you went out drinking together, you played a risk or monopoly together in the evening to pass the time that it's hard to come down when you're working at that speed and the adrenaline's going, you just been in front of an audience. You don't really want to go home to an empty digs. And, uh, just did he never tell you those that listen to some boring person on radio thought or something doing booklet bedtime, you wanted to keep going and people did till two, three o'clock in the morning when you were younger, you could do all that. Speaker 3 00:43:34 What strikes me then is that from what you were saying about, say for example, uh, the family gatherings on boxing day and the number of aunts and uncles and, uh, members of the family that are around the Kilburn and so forth that you, you come from, uh, uh, you had a childhood that was kind of quite a vibrant family, that it was a lot of activities Speaker 2 00:43:53 I'm very supported because I think, you know, being a diaspora County Kilburn, they did support each other. And if there was work going, they'd tell each other about this and that or about them going or whatever it might be or a house needed, some help or when a couple of uncles would turn up and sorted out. So yeah, it was very much an enlarged community family. And I guess maybe I'm wanting to be inside something rather than outside something, which I felt when I was at the boarding school to be part of a, an ensemble was great. Speaker 3 00:44:27 <inaudible> Speaker 0 00:44:35 Yeah. Speaker 3 00:44:36 The plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora, we all come from somewhere else, subscribe to us at www dot plastic, podcasts.com. And the last part of this interview with Paul Moriarty, we discussed Northern Ireland, working with Irish directors, passports and assimilation all in less than nine minutes. You went across to Northern Ireland for the first time, uh, the first one in the family. And that was when you were in your fifties. Um, and I was thinking about your, your, um, your image as it were, is very much as, um, uh, certainly in, in, in, in, in, in, in the more recent parts of your career, it's been psych, uh, it's it's, it's, it's been a southerner, it's been a company it's been a gangster or a policeman and so forth. And we were talking about the fact that you didn't, you hadn't actually worked that much with, let's say Irish directors or writers. Speaker 2 00:45:29 No, no, it's very odd. Uh, there was one, um, Alan Simpson was an Irish director who was thrown out of Dublin because an actress exposed a breast by accident in a play. And he was told he would never work in Dublin. Again, this was disgraceful. And, uh, he came over and, uh, director, uh, Russia play, they would threaten it by our boots off. And uh, he said, Oh God, it's terribly blurring all this shit. You know, paper, they must be drunk. These Russians talking like this, you know, so sentimental, daddy's going to take you out tonight. And the three of us went out with him and we got pretty Kayla, by the time we'd finished, we go by the <inaudible> and we had some whiskey and he said, right, uh, you're on the play. Daddy's going to bed. Even upstairs the bed. And the three of us ran the play and suddenly it was regulatory. Speaker 2 00:46:32 It was right. So it just opened instead of being English actors doing this old Russia mother, Russia, Russia, it was visceral. It was just brilliant. But he came up the strap and see me in a play. And he met me after this and he gave me all these notes. He'd been taking notes, all the it. And he got on the, I got on the train and I went to wave him off and he stuck his head out the window. And he said, well, don't tell the others that keep all these notes. That's a real sneaky Irish Dublin man. So there was him, there was TP with Kevin, Jim Norton, two Irish actors who were both in the contractor. And I appeared at the Abbey in a J Edward Bob play called saved, which was banned when it was originally written because of the stoning of a baby in the park. Speaker 2 00:47:29 And I thought I lost the Abbey. Nevermind the role call the role Gates bear company oil, national fit, or I'm at the Abbey. And, uh, of course it was all done in English. I was playing an English man at the Abbey was actually the peacock, the, um, studio theater attached to the Abbey. But I did, I did use to sneak up and just stand on the Abbey stage. And in the moment history of what happened, my parents were dead by then, but I'm sure they would have just been so thrilled except I had an arms two arms. Like we call all these people. Aren't so not really hopes, but they called it, came to see the play as the stoning of the baby. It's very visceral. It's very hard opening of the second act after the stoning of the baby and the audience are kind of like that I'm auditing at the back of the state. And then my aunt's voice rings out. No creases Paul backstage actors, who is that woman? Sorry, she's a relative. I mean like that. No creases power. Speaker 2 00:48:46 So yeah, I, uh, I don't know why, you know, when do you think George Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde and all these people, but modern Irish writers seem to have passed me by some great pity and Irish actors and actresses, uh, hardly ever worked with them. I don't know why that should be. There's a thriving stage and a TV now and filming over and out. And maybe they don't need to come to being that. I don't know, strange. And if not, and of course I went to America and has been in Frazier, lots of different things. So maybe they just don't need it. I don't know that. I can't think that English director said we don't want him. He's Irish. I'm an Irish citizen by the way. And so it was my son and my daughter was applied and we all feel Irish. Speaker 3 00:49:40 This brings me to my final question. It's the question I ask everybody really, uh, at the end. And you started to answer that by saying that you're, you're an Irish citizen and the same goes for what your, your, your sons and your daughter. Speaker 2 00:49:52 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was partly the Brexit. I should have done it years ago when my mother had an Irish passport, but my father, again, that got rid of his, I've got a British passport. Really? Yeah. Yeah. So she stayed with her Irish passport until she died. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:50:09 Um, what does being a member of the diaspora mean for you and for your family? Speaker 2 00:50:13 Uh, I'm assimilated, you know, as I say, an actor, you walk into a group of people and you're part of it, whatever color wrote designation, they might be, you hardly ever meet somebody who is, you know, these bloody immigrants and all, so you don't get that kind of conversation. I've been very lucky and also you get good scripts and it makes you look doing a play about the French revolution, the French revolution, Churchill's written about big bang daily read books on big bang dealing. Uh, David has writing political plays right up political reminiscences, et cetera, et cetera. You're constantly learning. Uh, and it's just been a wonderful job. I, I still feel Irish inside, but it's not an everyday kind of, Oh, those, although, you know, watching Johnson and go over and all these people I'd take them as being quintessentially English. I'm sure there are plenty of politicians who are just as corrupt and beetle as they are, and have no empathy for people who are not like them, but I don't want to be part of that. And I don't want to read the daily mail and I don't want to clean my calmness. Speaker 2 00:51:27 It's a tip and a there's better things to be doing. I think Brighton is so cosmopolitan. I ended up in Brighton because my wife got a job down here. So yeah, let's go to Brighton for the kids and everybody would just love it. People are good. People decent, even you. Oh yeah, yeah, no, sincerely. It's just been a, a lovely place to be with lovely community people again. It's great. And I went back to Ireland last year. My son invited us over tired of renting a house there. We went over. It's just something makes you go, Oh, the feels of the pouring rain and the turf and the pub. Speaker 2 00:52:17 Come on, sit down. Yeah. Yeah. Fine. Uh, it's just, it is a different race. We're all human beings, but we are very different than I think, uh, the country of origin does quite define a lot of us. Why not? Why shouldn't it be? Why shouldn't we be proud of our heritage in that case? Paul Moriarty. Thank you very much because it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you. It's been a great pleasure for me as an actor to talk about himself for this length of time, it's been a joy and thank you for listening. As they say, Speaker 1 00:52:52 You've been listening to the plastic podcast, tales of the Irish DNS, bro. We all come from somewhere else. I'm Doug <inaudible> I'm. My guest is being asked to pull mariachi. The plastic pedestal was provided by Bridgette <inaudible> and music like Jack to that seek us [email protected] Email [email protected] or indeed you can find this of the usual Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter places. Plastic plug has been supported using public funding like arts council, England.

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