New Frank of Ireland is a coup for Channel 4

Thursday: Frank of Ireland; (Channel 4, 10pm)

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 5:00 pm
Brian Gleeson
Brian Gleeson

Brendan Gleeson has been a revered elder statesman of Irish stage and screen for a while now, receiving acclaim for his roles in the Harry Potter films, Braveheart, Michael Collins, Troy, Into the Storm and The Comey Rule, among other things.

And apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Over the past few years, Brendan’s two acting sons, Domhnall and Brian, have also emerged from the unlikely backdrop of suburban Malahide to cement the Gleesons’ position as the first family of Irish acting.

The oldest of the siblings, Domhnall has appeared in several films of note, memorably chewing the scenery as General Hux in the Star Wars sequels and almost outshining Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.

Meanwhile, Domhnall’s younger brother Brian (their remaining siblings Fergus and Rúairí have stayed away from acting), has appeared in Rebellion, Stonemouth, Assassin’s Creed, Hellboy, Peaky Blinders and The Bisexual.

And now, the two siblings have teamed up to co-write (with Michael Moloney) and star in this new six-part comedy, which is executive produced by Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford.

“We’re so excited to work with MJ (director MJ Delaney), Sharon and Clelia on this, our first and (we’ve been told) last television series, the writing trio said.

Horgan added: “Working with the Gleeson Brothers has been like living in a very funny, existential dreamscape. I laughed so much making the pilot that it became annoying.”

Set in an idyllic suburb of Dublin, Frank of Ireland is the story of a man’s hapless search for respect, as he struggles to grow up and get his life together.

Frank Marron (played by Brian) is a 32-year-old catastrophe; a misanthropic, narcissistic fantasist who’s convinced that the world owes him something. But nonetheless, he’s our comedy hero.

Frank is single, still lives at home with his mother, Mary (Pom Boyd) and can’t drive. He’s a self-proclaimed musician, but hasn’t written a song or played a gig in years. His ex-girlfriend Aine (Sarah Greene) has just found a new boyfriend, and although they broke up six years ago, Frank is finding that a tad difficult.

Luckily, Frank has a loyal best friend, Doofus (Domhnall) whose full-time job is clearing the debris left in Frank’s wake. As he hits the ‘landmark’ age of 33, his family force him face up to some hard truths and make some big changes.

In tonight’s opening episode, Frank and Doofus head to Aine’s grandmother’s wake, where they find Aine with Peter-Brian (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), a doctor and expert in MMA (mixed martial arts). Feeling threatened by Peter-Brian, Frank decides that he’s going to learn MMA himself, and he also secures a ‘gig’ playing at the funeral.

Will Frank master MMA, or will he keep confusing it with MDMA? And will the ‘gig’ be a success and impress Aine – or will it end in disaster?

Frank of Ireland is a major coup for Channel 4, who have secured the rights to show tonight’s premiere a day before it is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Fiona McDermott, Head of Comedy at the broadcaster, says: “We’re delighted to welcome Domhnall and Brian to Channel 4 for their comedy debut.

“They are talented in ways Frank and his wildest dreams could only hope to emulate.”

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