The secret of my success: Ardal O'Hanlon

Comedian, actor and author Ardal O'Hanlon is best known for his role as Father Dougal in Bafta-winning sitcom 'Father Ted' and for his sell-out stand-up shows. His next UK tour starts on 9 October.

"I left college when I was 20 and didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. There wasn't much of a comedy scene in Dublin, so some friends and I set up the comedy centre. I enjoyed doing stand-up for a few years, but I eventually realised that I couldn't make a living, so at 28 I moved to London.

"For the first year I did the comedy clubs every night, and from there things quickly took off. I got offered the part in Father Ted, which catapulted me into another sphere altogether: I was able to tour, have my own show, and took time out to write a book, which I had always wanted to do.

"Father Ted was an incredibly lucky break for me. I didn't recognise it then, because I was getting off on doing stand-up. I wasn't thinking in terms of television, or even that far ahead in my career. No one could predict how successful it was going to be, and I now realise how much of a turning point that was. It was fantastic, because when I left Dublin, my only big ambition was to get to the Comedy Store.

"I would attribute that sort of 'never expecting anything to happen' as a very important part of my philosophy. Having no expectations makes anything else that happens a bonus. I wouldn't have the luxury of that philosophy if I didn't have a very happy home life. You know that if you fail you have that support and I couldn't survive without it."

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