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Ardal O'Hanlon

Last updated 27 July 2014


Ardal O'Hanlon
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Ardal O'Hanlon

Born: Friday 8th October 1965 (age: 54)

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Ardal O'Hanlon  is an Irish comedian and actor, best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.

O'Hanlon was born in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. He was  schooled in Blackrock College in Dublin and graduated, in 1987, from the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin (now Dublin City University) with a degree in Communications Studies.

Together with Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy, Ardal O'Hanlon founded the International Comedy Cellar, upstairs in the International Bar on Dublin's South Wicklow Street. He was spotted by Graham Linehan, who was to cast him as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted (1995-98). 

O'Hanlon moved into straight acting alongside Emma Fielding and Beth Goddard in the ITV comedy-drama Big Bad World, which aired for two series in summer 1999 and winter 2001. He also played a minor role in The Butcher Boy as Joe's (Francie's best friend) father, and appeared in an episode of the original Whose Line is it Anyway?.

In 2000, O'Hanlon starred in the comedy series My Hero, in which he played a superhero from the planet Ultron. His character juggled world-saving heroics with life in suburbia. He stayed in the role until early 2005 and was replaced by James Dreyfus for series 6 in 2006. He provided the voice of the lead character in two Christmas television cartoon specials of Robbie the Reindeer. He appeared in the 2005 BBC One sitcom Blessed, written by Ben Elton. Towards the end of 2005, he played an eccentric Scottish character, Coconut Tam, in the family-based film, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby. 

In 2006, O'Hanlon wrote and presented an RTE television series called Leagues Apart, which saw him investigate the biggest and most passionate football rivalries in a number of European countries. Included were Roma vs Lazio in Italy, Barcelona vs Real Madrid in Spain, and Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce in Turkey. He followed this with another RTÉ show, So You Want To Be Taoiseach? in 2007. It was a political series where O'Hanlon gave tongue-in-cheek advice on how to go about becoming Taoiseach of Ireland. Both programmes went some way towards freeing O'Hanlon from his association with the character of Dougal in the minds of Irish audiences.

He appeared in the Doctor Who episode "Gridlock", broadcast on 14 April 2007, in which he played a feline alien named Thomas Kincade Brannigan. 

O'Hanlon appears in Series 3 of the TV show Skins, playing Naomi Campbell's Politics teacher named Kieran, who attempted to kiss her. He then went on to form a relationship with Naomi's mother. O'Hanlon plays the lead role in Irish comedy television programme Val Falvey, TD on RTE One. 

In February 2011, O'Hanlon returned to the Gate Theatre, Dublin starring in the Irish premiere of Christopher Hampton's God of Carnage along side Maura Tierney.

O'Hanlon has written a novel, The Talk of the Town (known in the United States as Knick Knack Paddy Whack), which was published in 1998. The novel is about a teenage boy, Patrick Scully, and his friends.