'Nidge' rules out a return to hit RTE show

"I’m so proud of it – with Love/Hate I have complete & utterly positive nostalgia for it."

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as King Nidge in Love/Hate

Hard hitting: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Rialto, which hits Irish cinemas next week

Daragh Keany

Ten years after it blasted on to our screens to be the most talked about and powerful Irish TV drama ever, the man who played King Nidge in RTE's Love/Hate has had his say on rumours of a reunion special.

"Privately amongst ourselves, definitely," Tom Vaughan-Lawlor laughed. "But onscreen - no. I know some fans think Nidge could be alive, but he is dead. I need people to know this. So if there ever is a comeback show I won't be part of it for a fact.

"But I haven't heard any talk of it reappearing.

"I am so proud of it. I don't normally dwell on my past work because I don't think it is healthy for an actor to do that. But with Love/Hate I have complete and utterly positive nostalgia for it.

"There were no bells and whistles. It was shot guerrilla style on a tight time frame and an even tighter budget. We were all in it together and we were all pulling in the same direction.

"I miss the team; the cast and crew. There are still random texts and WhatsApps between the cast. We all get on so well so I do miss the job. But I don't miss the haircut. And neither does my wife Claire," he laughed.


"When I am home in Ireland I still get stopped in the street about it. I definitely feel the love for Nidge alright. What a privilege to have that. I am not a doctor or a nurse or a teacher and yet people, complete strangers, come up to me and tell me they love my work."

Speaking about the show that first aired on October 3, 2010, he continued: "Love/Hate completely changed my life. Irish people regard it as one of the best shows ever and rightly so. It was a cultural moment and after season two aired we knew that.

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as King Nidge in Love/Hate

"But outside Ireland it was sleeper hit. It wasn't mainstream but anyone who watched it loved it. I could be auditioning in the US or working with someone random and huge and they just walk up to me and say they adored Love/Hate."

Was there a highlight? "Season 2 was definitely the most magical. That was the last year that all the main guys were together on screen before Aidan's character was killed off. It was also before it blew up popularity wise so we were able to film anywhere without anyone watching in or taking pics and videos on their phones."

The Dubliner's next project is a heavy-going, art house movie written by Adam & Paul creator Mark O'Halloran called Rialto and hits cinemas around Ireland next Friday and in Dublin the following week, pending Government recommendations.

"I play a man who is falling apart. He is married with grown up kids but when things start to unravel he ends up in an encounter with male prostitute that changes his life forever.

"He has to deal with his sexuality, his masculinity, his wife, his teenage kids and this new young man in his life. I loved the script and I loved the team behind it. My character has an identity crisis so I loved playing that. It was refreshingly different.

"It was an incredible experience from start to finish. The young actor who plays the male prostitute is called Tom too and as soon as I heard his Dublin accent I knew he was perfect for this role. He is actually from the north of England."

So how did he find the love scenes? "Ha. Everyone was professional and it was an unusual circumstance to be in but you actually find in those moments there can be some levity. If there isn't, the whole process can get too heavy. You can get bogged down in it if you don't see the absurdity of some situations."

Speaking of absurdity, the 42-year-old finds the current pandemic hard to deal with, especially living in England as they head towards Brexit.


"When you are an actor you are used to travelling around and having periods of time with no work. But nothing prepares you for this pandemic. Nothing.

Hard hitting: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Rialto, which hits Irish cinemas next week

"I am lucky enough, though. When offers come in to myself and my wife [Jamestown actress Claire Cox] we can decide if our motivation for taking the next role is an artistic one or a financial one. We both want to test ourselves professionally but we also both want to provide for our kids and be comfortable.

"At one point a few years ago when it was just the three of us… myself, my wife Claire and our son Freddie were all in three different time zones for a couple of weeks. I was the US, Claire was in Turkey and Freddie was in the UK. That was rare, obviously, but it did make us think about our respective careers.

"It is really important for myself and Claire that our kids know about their Irishness. I have a daughter now so I see things differently. She has me wrapped around her little finger."

  • Rialto hits Irish cinemas on October 2 and Dublin cinemas the following Friday.

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