Even in the rain ‘Cork still looks like a ride’ on set of The Young Offenders

You can have the backing of the BBC and the goodwill of a city behind you — but it doesn’t mean the Irish weather will be on your side.

And so the two stars of The Young Offenders found themselves huddled in the rain for much of the morning’s shoot at the back of a housing estate in Mayfield on the northside of Cork.

When they were making the original film version, bad weather would probably have prompted actors Alex Murphy and Chris Walley, along with the rest of the small crew, to take a break from filming and tuck into the sandwiches that largely provided the payment for most of them.

This time around it’s different. They have a tight shooting schedule over the next eight weeks to be ready for the early 2018 broadcast of six half-hour episodes on BBC Three and RTÉ. No matter what the conditions, the show must literally go on.

Director, Peter Foott

“Obviously, we’d prefer to be doing it in nice weather, but we just have to plough ahead anyway,” explains Peter Foott, the writer/director who’s the brainchild behind it all. “We’ve a big crew and a lot to get through.

“And anyway, Cork still looks like a ride,” interjects the man holding a stick next to him, who also happens to be wearing a yellow latex glove and has a pair of swimming goggles over his eyes. Billy Murphy is back.

Shane Casey who plays Billy Murphy

The local nutcase played by Shane Casey struts to his mark on a patch of tarmacadam that’s still scarred with the remnants of a fire from Bonfire Night.

A call goes up for quiet on the set, and the actor gets into character by whacking the debris with the stick, channelling a combination of inner ninja and demented golfer. He’s soon joined by his young co-stars, playing Conor and Jock.

“Give me your fags and money, or I’ll kick the livin’ shit out of ye,” says Billy so convincingly that it sends a shiver through those of us with memories of similar situations from our teens.

It’s also possibly not the first time such words have been uttered on this patch. Not that The Young Offenders portrays its constituents in a negative way.

PJ Gallagher and Hilary Rose the film version of The Young Offenders.

The new series hopes to continue the charm of the film in showing how, despite the few nutcases and troubled families, the vast majority of people from the areas it represents are decent and making the most of the hand they’ve been dealt.

And they’re also well able to have a laugh along the way. One of the ultimate reminders of all this comes from the fact that Roy Keane’s old house is little more than the kick of a ball from where these scenes are being filmed.

Chris Walley plays Jock and Alex Murphy in the role of Conor

All the familiar faces from the film are back for the TV series, though the story has very much been rebooted, and it’s being made without reference to a lot of the plot that drove the original tale.

One of the big changes is that PJ Gallagher, who played the limping Dublin gangster in the original, has been re-cast as a school principal. Otherwise, it’s business as usual for lovable rogues Conor and Jock.

As the rain eases and filming breaks for lunch, you’d imagine it’s sunny days ahead for all concerned.

Chris Walley who plays Jock


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