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packing heat Peaky Blinders Packy's daughter is following in her father's footsteps

Fodhla is ready to give her dad a run for his money!

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Fodhla is following in her dad's footsteps

Fodhla is following in her dad's footsteps

Fodhla is following in her dad's footsteps

Packy Lee would need to watch his back.

The Peaky Blinders actor has competition in his teenage daughter Fodhla who’s determined to be a bigger star than him!

The 13-year-old has bagged a role in the cult TV series playing the on-screen daughter of Packy’s character, Johnny Dogs.

And filming alongside her dad and his celebrity pals has made the young west Belfast girl even more determined to follow in her famous father’s footsteps.

“Being on Peaky Blinders was crazy,” she said.

“When we were getting on the plane we were asked why we were going because of Covid and my daddy told them we were both going to work. I was so excited, I had my own personal driver, a trailer and all.

“It was amazing being on set, especially with my daddy. It was just amazing, acting is definitely what I want to do,” Fodhla told the Sunday World.

“I met Cillian (Murphy) and he was lovely. It was mad, when I came out after my costume fitting and my dad was sitting having coffee with his mates, I was like, ‘I saw you all on TV’. I have definitely got the bug, when I was on set I thought, ‘yes this is it’.”

Fodhla, who cannot say anything about her role on the hit series due to revealing the plot, had some fellow actors confused when she kept calling Packy daddy.

“I asked around if anyone had seen my daddy and they were like ‘why are you calling him daddy, that’s just your role?’ I think some of the extras thought I was taking the p**s until I explained to them that he actually was my daddy in real life.

“It was a fantastic experience, everyone was so kind and friendly. I had been asking my daddy for ages at the dinner table when I was going to be on Peaky Blinders, I never thought it would happen.”

Packy has been on the show since the very start, and he filmed the final series with his daughter by his side after his director asked for Fodhla to audition.

“I was out in the park with my friend when my daddy rang and asked me if I could send him some casual pictures with no make-up and asked me what height I was. I remember thinking, what is he on about, surely he must know what I look like?

“The director really liked me, the way I looked for the part and the Irish [language]. I couldn’t believe it. It was a dream come true.”.

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The fluent Irish speaker has been honing her talents from a very young age. Naturally gifted in acting, singing and playing musical instruments, she has big plans for her future.

And she is determined to make it on her own. “I know what is needed – it’s more than talent, that will help, but it’s hard work. I know I need to put the work in – my daddy has taught me that.

“I’ll put myself forward like my

daddy does and I know there will be disappointment but that is what happens.

“I’ve got lead roles in musicals and some people have said that’s just because I have a famous father. Maybe one day people will be saying that to my daughter about me!” Her recent performance of the classic song Opportunity from Annie went viral, earning her praise from family members who didn’t even know she could sing!

“Some of my close family never even knew I could sing until the music video was posted [online]. I definitely got the bug from my daddy, I used to go and see him in pantos when I was younger and I remember looking at all his facial expressions, all the characters and thinking that was class, that it was something I wanted to do .

“I’m involved with the Irish Community Drama, I fell in love instantly, it’s amazing, so good.

“I’m also a member of the Northern Ireland School of Music and Theatre and I love it too. I get excited every time I have to go, I never think ‘oh no I have five hours of singing and acting’.

“I even teach the wee ones too, they are between four and seven years of age and they are so cute.”

She added: “I would love to train as a drama teacher as a back-up if my acting doesn’t work out, that’s my back-up plan because my daddy says acting won’t always pay the bills.”

The Coláiste Feirste pupil had performed shows in Irish and has just filmed Translink’s advert for the ‘Back to School’ campaign.

She has also just been signed up by a talent agency Rising Talent, something mum Danielle was slightly anxious about.

“Packy thinks it’s great though he has told her how hard it is,” said Danielle.

“I tried at the start to steer her away from it because I’ve seen what Packy has gone through over the years — the disappointments, the knock-backs — and I know how hard it is.

“I think it’s even harder on girls because it can become all about their appearance, their looks, which we know happens, it can be really tough.

“But she’s determined to go ahead so it’s what makes her happy, though she better not turn into a diva, I have already got one of them with Packy!”

paula.mackin@sundayworld.com

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