Nidge and Charlie stalk RTÉ schedule

As crime boss Nidge in Love/Hate, Tom Vaughan Lawlor hasn’t flinched from dispatching his enemies, and soon he’ll be playing another character who knows where the bodies are buried.

But this time it will be political skeletons in the cupboard that preoccupy him as he takes on the role of spin doctor, PJ Mara, always at Charles Haughey’s side, in the RTÉ drama, Charlie.

Speaking at the launch of RTÉ One’s new schedule, Vaughan Lawlor, who will also be returning to the screen in the fifth series of Love/Hate, said he loved the challenge of depicting Mara presented.

“It’s wonderful to be able to play a part that’s so different in terms of energy and tempo and physicality and is a completely different departure from the Love/Hate character.

“Getting the script, I didn’t know how much was fact and how much was fiction — being very young at the time — and it was amazing to go back and find it’s all true.”

Charlie also features another Love/Hate favourite, Laurence Kinlan, who plays Elmo in the crime drama but takes on the role of the late TD Tony Gregory in the three-part series.

For Laurence, who grew up in Gregory’s inner-city Dublin constituency, it was extra special to play someone who fought to rid the area of drugs and poverty, particularly because of the tragedy that struck his own family.

“My dad died in the early ’90s from heroin addiction and what Tony Gregory done for the area, while it was probably too late for my dad, what he done for the inner city was just incredible.”

Love/Hate, Charlie and the second series of The Fall, are the three big dramas in the autumn and winter schedule which is also strong on one-and two-part documentaries.

Some of the subjects include women behind bars in Irish prisons, the day-to-day work of the country’s probation officers, the impact of pornography in Irish society and the lives of young people leaving state care.

In other programmes, Cork hurling champion Donal Óg Cusack explores how much life has changed for gay people in Ireland in the 20 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and Holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental leaves Ireland, his home for more than 50 years, to find one of the camp guards who held him captive in Bergen Belsen.

In arts and entertainment, John Murray will launch a nationwide campaign to find the public’s best-loved Irish poem, and Imelda May gets her own chat and live music show.

Reality shows are also plentiful with new programmes, including one where parents hand over their holiday budgets to their children to plan the annual family trip and one following people overcoming their fear of public speaking with the help of a celebrity speech coach.

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