Adams' voices have to give up day jobs

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AMID the near unbridled joy at the lifting of the broadcasting ban, spare a thought please for Alan McKee, 25, writes Rhys Williams. Until yesterday, he and a pool of eight or so other actors were guaranteed fairly regular work from BBC Northern Ireland for speaking the words that Gerry Adams and Co could not.

And at Equity day rates of pounds 90 for television ( pounds 60 for radio), the six-year broadcasting ban was getting to be quite a nice little earner. But no more.

'Well, we won't be using them any more,' explained a spokeswoman. 'But they're professional actors, so it's not as though they won't find any work.'

Mr McKee, who has been playing Mr Adams for two-and-a-half years, was philosophical about his early return to the casting couch. 'We're sorry to see the money go, but from the wider view of freedom of speech we welcome the lifting of the ban. It was certainly never work you could rely on.

'Political events dictated how often we worked. It's been pretty busy these past few weeks.' Until today, Mr McKee and his colleagues have kept their identity secret. 'In the interests of personal security,' he explains.

But now, in the interests of job security, he is happy for his name to go on general release.

He is playing a title role in John Godber's Bouncers at the Belfast Arts Theatre in December, but until then will be spending more time with his agent. Any offers will be gratefully received.

(Photograph omitted)