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filming fears Actor reveals fears locals in town where RTE drama Smother was filmed would think he was a real-life paedophile

Danish star Thomas Levin, who plays Carl Jensen in the show, insisted that posters used in the drama - which carried an image of his face with the word 'Pedo' printed on it - be removed from the area when filming ended.

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Thomas Levin as Carl and Hazel Doupe as his daughter Ingrid

Thomas Levin as Carl and Hazel Doupe as his daughter Ingrid

Carl faces a storm of abuse

Carl faces a storm of abuse

Carl and the Smother ‘Pedo’ posters

Carl and the Smother ‘Pedo’ posters

Hazel on set in Lahinch

Hazel on set in Lahinch

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Thomas Levin as Carl and Hazel Doupe as his daughter Ingrid

An actor in hit RTE drama Smother has revealed he was terrified locals in the town where the show was filmed would think he was a real-life paedophile.

Danish star Thomas Levin, who plays Carl Jensen in the show, insisted that posters used in the drama - which carried an image of his face with the word 'Pedo' printed on it - be removed from the area when filming ended.

In the show, Carl and his onscreen daughter Ingrid (Hazel Doupe) were seen removing the posters from the windscreens of cars and also cleaning up graffiti on their home, when 'Pedo' is sprayed onto the front of the house in large red writing.

The scenes were filmed last year in Lahinch, Co. Clare, and centred on the fact that Carl was questioned in Denmark about the alleged sexual abuse of a female teenage student before he moved to Ireland.

Carl, who is in a relationship with Dervla Kirwan's character, Val, was also brought in for questioning to the local Garda station after an anonymous letter was sent to them, which included a newspaper clipping about the accusation.

He was also suspected of involvement in Denis Ahern's death, after viewers previously saw a heated row between the two.

The local school, where Carl is a science teacher, suspended him after a parent saw him being questioned by gardai, and word soon got out about the Danish accusations.

The fact that he was cleared in Denmark didn't stop locals targeting Carl with the 'Pedo' smears.

"The subject matter is very uncomfortable," says Thomas (42), who in real life lives in Copenhagen with his wife and their two young children.

"It's just a horrible thing and it really provokes strong emotions."

He was terrified someone might find the poster and believe he was a paedophile in real life.

"People don't know me where we were shooting," explains Thomas.

"If somebody found that flyer and I had to go and buy groceries, that would be really uncomfortable because there is a thin line between who I am and who the audience think I am as a character.

"That was just the first time in my life where I had a conversation with the prop department ... 'please make sure that there is not a single poster left anywhere when we leave shooting'. That was the most freaky part."

Bond

Hazel Doupe, who plays 15-year-old Ingrid, said she had no qualms about playing the role of a daughter who supports her father in such circumstances.

"Looking into Ingrid's past with her dad, they have a strong bond and it wouldn't matter to her what other people thought of him," says the 18-year-old Dubliner.

"Obviously, it was going to affect her in ways, but it wouldn't stop her from supporting her father. The usual response for someone in that age is to go with their mother, but she showed a lot of bravery."

Thomas maintains that while the subject matter was dark, he enjoyed playing the role.

"I was interested because I heard about Katie [O'Riordan, the writer], I heard about the production company and the chance to go to Ireland to meet new colleagues," he explains.

"It was nice for me to get a chance to play a father and also where I have a relationship that was not conventional, with Dervla's character. So I guess that was the two main things for me."

  • Smother continues tonight on RTE One at 9.30pm.


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