TIM FANNING MY VIEW
Aidan Gillen has all the political experience in the world to play Charlie…
Trying to picture Aidan Gillen as Charlie Haughey requires quite a mental leap. But, this week, a new three-part drama based on the late CJ’s life went into production starring the Love/ Hate and Game Of Thrones actor. Aidan may not have quite the same roguish good looks as our Charlie, but he has lots of experience in what it takes to survive in the murky world of politics. In The Wire, he played the slick, womanising Tommy Carcetti, who makes his way up the greasy pole of Baltimore politics to become mayor. His character is one of the few who doesn’t find himself demoted, in prison or dead.
The rough and tumble of the Baltimore council chamber are a breeze compared to the skills required to keep your head in Westeros, the fantasy world in Game Of Thrones where a political faux pas often results in excruciating torture. Gillen’s character Lord Baelish is a brothel-keeper, member of the small council that advises the King and a former Master of the Coin, activities that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive in modern-day politics either.
In real life, to paraphrase the infamous Enoch Powell, all political careers end in failure. In the gritty Love/ Hate, Aidan was paranoid mob boss John Boy, until he fell foul of his own gang in a double- cross worthy of Fianna Fáil in the Haughey era.
The beneficiary of the murder was one Nidge, who is desperately hanging on to his crown in the current series of Love/ Hate. Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, who plays Nidge, will also star in the RTÉ drama about Charlie as the Taoiseach’s still-verymuch- alive spin doctor and political advisor PJ Mara. All of which proves that art has a way of imitating life or maybe it’s just that casting directors in Ireland have run out of ideas.
Unfortunately we already know how the Charlie story ends, so we won’t get to see PJ getting one of his underlings to take out Charlie with a machine gun and grab the throne for himself in the final episode. Instead, we’ll see yet another old man, refusing to believe that his days are numbered, desperately trying to hang on, until he’s unceremoniously pushed. As it returns for a second series, the period drama set in England’s first department store looks set to garner even more devoted fans than the six million who regularly tuned in during its debut last year. This opening episode is packed from start to finish with cads, betrayal, lust and ambition, plus of course the tumultuous love triangle that lies at the show’s heart. And so, we find Denise (Joanna Vanderham) pining for Moray (Emun Elliott), who is still working in Paris. But when Katherine (Elaine Cassidy) returns with her enigmatic new husband Tom (Ben Daniels), she surprises everyone by summoning Moray – who left her for Denise – back to give the flagging store a boost. And as for that new husband of hers, well – he’s certainly up to no good. No good at all.