Derry-born actress Roma Downey will be celebrating Christmas thousands of miles from her childhood home but the city will not be far from her thoughts.
The award-winning actress is currently starring as Mary in the record breaking miniseries, ‘The Bible’, which she also produced along with her husband, Mark Burnett.
It was watched by more than 110 million viewers in America and became the fastest selling home release in history when it became available on DVD.
The DVD of the series will be released here on St Stephen’s Day and is expected to be a big seller.
The Derry-born actress said she has been getting great feedback about the series, which is currently being screened on Channel Five, from her friends and family in the city.
“I have heard quite a bit from friends and family who have been texting and tweeting me telling me they are glued to the TV every Saturday night,” she said.
She also said it is particularly appropriate that the series is being screened over Christmas. “I think that during the holy holidays, Christmas and Easter, people turn back to their faith. It is a beautiful opportunity for people who have fallen away from the church to be reunited with how exceptionally uplifting these stories are,” she explained.
Ms Downey said acting in the Biblical drama gave her the opportunity to return to her appearances on stage in school nativity plays in Derry.
“I don’t believe that I had the opportunity to play such a major role as the blessed mother. I may have been one of the three kings once, I remember having to wear a beard,” she said.
Despite living in Malibu, the international star said Christmas always makes her think of Derry. “I think Christmas always brings a bit of nostalgia for one’s childhood. For me I always wish my mum and dad were alive.
“I remember growing up every year my father would light a candle and place it in the window. He said that if Mary and Joseph were travelling they would know it is a Christmas home and that has always touched me and it is something I still do in my own home,” she said.
The actress said her next project will be a film version of the miniseries which will be released in the United States on February 28.
The Bible is out on Blu-ray and DVD on December 26th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.