The 5-minute Interview: Ardal O'Hanlon: Comedian, actor and writer

'I was mugged by a friendly mugger. He hopped off the bus and waved'
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The Independent Online

Since playing Dougal in 'Father Ted', Ardal O'Hanlon, 42, has gone on to star in 'Blessed' and 'My Hero', and voiced Robbie the Reindeer in 'Hooves Of Fire'. His new DVD, 'Ardal O'Hanlon: Live in Dublin', is out now.

If I weren't talking to you now I'd be ...

Unpacking boxes. I've just moved back into my house after some building work and it's good to be back.

A phrase I use far too often is...

I overuse the "C" word quite a lot. I've never done it in front of the kids. I'm trying to correct it and be more generous to people and less judgemental, which is difficult.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

The bigger picture. I think we all get a bit bogged down in our lives and our own careers and we have to take a step back and get a sense of proportion and perspective on things. I don't take myself or the species too seriously. You have to laugh at everything.

The most surprising thing to happen to me was ...

When I was mugged by a very friendly mugger on a bus. He was an apologetic mugger but he did have a knife. I gave him all the money I had on me, which wasn't very much, and he asked for my jacket. I said I'd rather not because someone had given it to me, and he said fine. Then he hopped off the bus and gave me a wave.

A common misperception of me is ...

That I'm stupid. People pay far too much attention to the television and they're quite literal in some ways. At the beginning, when I was playing very stupid characters, I think people genuinely thought I was possibly quite dim-witted myself, which is a compliment in some ways, as I must have been doing my job very well.

I'm not a politician but ...

I am the son of a politician. My father has been an MP in the Irish parliament for 20 years.

I'm good at ...

Scrabble. My favourite word is "onyx".

I'm very bad at ...

Golf. I've spent a lot of time trying but I'm not very good.

An ideal night out would be ...

With Arsne Wenger at The Ivy.

In weak moments I ...

Crawl into bed. Before really high-pressured gigs I tend to freeze and crawl into bed. Under the covers you just feel safe for a little while.

In another life I'd have been ...

A writer, and I will be in the future. I wrote a novel some years ago and I fully intend to pursue a career in novel-writing but I've got distracted. I'm just not prepared to devote myself to the dedication that it needs just yet.

The best age to be is ...

Forty. I've never been happier than I am now. The last couple of years I've been very, very happy. You know a certain amount of stuff, not everything, and are not as worried about what people think of you.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is ...

Try and pass the time as eventfully as possible before you die.

Michael Simon

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