I’LL AL­WAYS BE KEEP­ING MY FEET ON THE GROUND

James loves be­ing back home

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - BRIAN READE - BY CIARA COLHOUN

THERE’S no chance of James Nes­bitt los­ing touch with his North­ern Ir­ish roots.

The Cold Feet and Hob­bit star grew up in Broughshane, Co Antrim, and Col­eraine in neigh­bour­ing Co Derry, be­fore mov­ing to Eng­land to pur­sue his act­ing ca­reer.

But on his lat­est trip back he ad­mit­ted he is “never too far away from home”.

And if any more proof were needed he’s in the process of build­ing a house in Portrush, Co Antrim, where he plans to move full-time in the next few years.

The 54-year-old joked he can de­pend on Belfast peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar to keep him grounded.

He said: “Peo­ple are not shy about talk­ing to me when I am out in the city. If any­thing grounds you, it is the peo­ple in Belfast.

“They would not al­low you to get car­ried away with your­self. But they are also pro­tec­tive in a way.

“I also come home to keep my mates grounded – I keep them in beer. My three best mates are from school and some­how we have ended up liv­ing within a stone’s throw from each other.”

One of our most fa­mous ex­ports, James has won many awards through­out his ca­reer and rose to fame as the lead­ing star in Cold Feet from 1998 to 2003.

Hav­ing re­cently fin­ished film­ing a new series that will be aired next year, he re­vealed to fans there is a “big shock” on the cards.

James was in Belfast yes­ter­day to help launch the fi­nal pub­li­ca­tion of the Yel­low Pages in North­ern Ire­land by Yell.com.

Re­mem­bered as the face of the com­pany’s suc­cess­ful ads, he posed for self­ies with shop­pers in Vic­to­ria Square where he said he was happy to be a cham­pion for lo­cal busi­ness.

He added: “What I love most about the new shiny face of Belfast is see­ing ev­ery­one in the grounds of the City Hall eat­ing their lunch. That is a change from when I was a stu­dent in the city.

“For us as chil­dren it was ex­cit­ing hav­ing a day out in Belfast.

“I re­mem­ber my mum once took my sis­ter An­drea and I to play on the es­ca­la­tors of Alder­grove Air­port for a day out. It was like magic.”

Al­though he was for­tu­nate to have en­joyed a child­hood rel­a­tively un­touched by the vi­o­lence that plagued North­ern Ire­land, James ad­mit­ted the first thought that crossed his mind when he saw smoke from the Pri­mark fire was that it was Trou­bles-re­lated.

He said: “I was driv­ing from Holy­wood to see my dad in Antrim and I no­ticed the smoke above the city.

“I know how im­por­tant it is. I spent many an af­ter­noon with my daugh­ter – dy­ing – in Pri­mark.”

James loves noth­ing more than a pint in the Crown Bar and a trip to the Europa Ho­tel – “two sym­bols of the city that had stood up to all the Trou­bles”.

And his well-known con­nec­tion with Col­eraine Foot­ball Club is also a big part of his life.

He added: “I put far too much money into them, but I love them. It is a plea­sure to be con­nected to them. Foot­balls clubs are one of the heart­beats of a com­mu­nity.”

With­er­ing of our politi­cians, he said they ap­peared to have for­got­ten their role should in fact be “all about the com­mu­nity”.

He added: “I de­spair of their egos and self­ish­ness. They have de­cided to make it about them rather than their elec­torate and I hate that.

“Politi­cians are for­get­ting the com­mu­nity is more im­por­tant than their per­sonal po­si­tions.”

De­spite that, James said he “could cry” with pride at be­ing from North­ern Ire­land.

He added: “I love be­ing from North­ern Ire­land. It is my great­est priv­i­lege.”

WARM WEL­COME Nes­bitt at Vic­to­ria Square yes­ter­day KEEP­ING BUSY In Cold Feet and at Col­eraine game

CHATTY Talk­ing to Mir­ror’s Ciara

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