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Daniel O'Donnell's festive TV takeover

MusicBy Eddie Rowley
Daniel O'Donnell's festive TV takeover

IT’S going to be a merry Daniel Christmas this festive season on TV.

Ireland’s favourite crooner Daniel O’Donnell blossomed as a major star in the world of TV during 2015 when he took a break from touring.

Now Daniel (54), is set to be one of the highlights of Christmas TV entertainment, dominating the small screen on FIVE shows over the next two weeks.

The Donegal celebrity had to dash across London to Heathrow Airport last Sunday on the back of a motorbike as he recorded two shows on the same day.

On Sunday morning, Daniel recorded his spot on ITV’s ABBA Christmas Party show in London, where he performed I Have a Dream.

“I finished singing at 10.45am and then travelled on the back of a motorbike to Heathrow Airport to catch my flight to Dublin, as I was recording a show for RTE at 2.30pm that afternoon in Powerscourt House, Co. Wicklow,” Daniel tells the Sunday World.

“So I had to get what they call a limobike, a London motorbike taxi, to get to the airport on time. I said to the motorcyclist: ‘By the time we get to the airport you’ll think I love you I’ll be holding you that tight.’ But it has two bars by the side for the passenger to hold on to.

“I left at 10.45am and I was sitting on the plane in Heathrow at 12 noon. It was my first time to take a motorbike taxi, but it’s definitely the way to go if you’re in a hurry.”

The Irish superstar then spent last Sunday afternoon recording Daniel O’Donnell and Friends, which will be broadcast on RTE One at 9.20pm on St Stephen’s Day.

“What I love about this show is that it’s mainly entertainment rather than chat,” Daniel says.

During the show Daniel performs duets with a number of guests. Former Westlife star Shane Filan sings Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids. 

“It was the song that Shane chose to sing with me,” Daniel reveals.

Una Foden of The Saturdays and her uncle, country singer Declan Nerney, team up with Daniel to perform the classic, The Last Thing on my Mind.

“We were talking about country music on the show and Una said that song is one of her favourites,” he says.

Comic and actor Pat Shortt accompanies Daniel on saxophone as he gives an impromptu rendition of Blueberry Hill.

Other guests include country sensation Derek Ryan and soccer legend Packie Bonner. Hypnotist Keith Barry bewitches Daniel and his wife Majella on the show. 

“I don’t want to give away the surprise, but it’s just brilliant what he does,” Daniel says. “He is amazing. It’s worth seeing what he did.”

Also worth seeing on the show is Daniel’s American Smooth dance with his Strictly Come Dancing partner Kristina Rihanoff.

“Kristina made a huge effort to be on the show, flying in and out of Dublin on the same day, and she’s an amazing person,” says Daniel.

Daniel’s Christmas shows include ITV’s ABBA Christmas Party on Christmas Eve, which also feature s Susan Boyle, Alexandra Burke, Shayne Ward, Union J and the cast of Mamma Mia!

Today, UTV Ireland will broadcast all six episodes of Daniel & Majella’s B&B Road Trip from 12.30pm to 3pm. Daniel will also perform on the Ireland West Christmas Special on Sky 266 on the same day.

On New Year’s Eve, Daniel will take a trip down memory lane looking back at the the highlights of his career on the TV3 show, Daniel O’Donnell: 40 Years of Music & Memories.