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hands off Game of Thrones actor lifts lid on socially distanced Irish First Dates appearance

Tralee based Tim Landers (54) was warned beforehand that there was to be no touching, hugging or kissing.

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Tralee actor Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones before appearing on RTÉ’s ‘First Dates’

Tralee actor Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones before appearing on RTÉ’s ‘First Dates’

Tralee actor Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones before appearing on RTÉ’s ‘First Dates’

A Game of Thrones actor has lifted the lid on the new socially distanced First Dates and was warned beforehand that there was to be no touching, hugging or kissing.

Tralee based Tim Landers (54) was also given a booklet for his bus journey to Dublin to appear on the show, instructing him on Covid safety while filming his date with Sligoman Rory (48).

"It was the Gibson Hotel as usual and I had my mask on when I arrived up and was met by the production staff, who also had masks on," he recalls. "They explained what was going to happen. But they want to maintain I was just arriving on the date, so that was filmed later.

"When I met Matteo (the maître d') he was behind a screen when I met him when I came in.

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Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones.

Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones.

Tim Landers featured in hit series Game of Thrones.

"Then when the date started I was waiting at the bar at a seat two metres from him. When we were brought over to the table we were amazed to find there was a huge distance between us on a very long table, maybe four or five metres away from each other.

"Once the date was on and once we were socially distanced, there was no physical contact whatsoever. We wouldn't have been allowed to kiss or shake hands, shake hangs, hug or anything like that."

There were fewer diners than normal, while the waiting staff wore makes.

"They had to do what they had to do under the precautions," Tim points out. "I feel I was told everything. It wasn't like I didn't know, it was fine. And he was lovely, a very funny guy. We had a lot in common.

"Then when we were talking to camera at the end of the date there was a mirror between us as we sat side by side, so we were again socially distanced."

Excitement

Tim says he was "full of excitement" at the thought of the date.

"I have been isolating under lockdown, I live on my own," he explains. "I keep in a bubble with two straight couples who are my best friends and I've been very good up until then."

He came out in 1995.

"I have been single for quite a while," he admits. "Like a lot of people loneliness gets to me. I find especially in my 50s I find it difficult. I watched the programme for the last few years and I said 'you know what, I've tried everything, I've tried dating apps and all that, you can't find anybody that lasts'.

"My last relationship was about seven or eight years ago. That was for about a year. I've only had about three or four relationships since 1990. I've only gone on dates outside of that, two or three times.

"I have used the likes of Grindr. I normally go for my own age group upwards, from around 50 to 70. My ideal men would have been Burt Reynolds, Sean Connery and Tom Selleck. I like a man to be a man!"

Tim was born in Dublin and moved from Ballymun with his Kerry-born parents to Tralee when he was aged 14.

He later got a job in the Bank of Ireland in Galway in 1987 and started playing soccer, being so good he starred for Galway United and got an Irish junior medal. When he broke his leg he fell in love with the theatre after going to a local musical society production, which he joined, and then moved to America to try his luck at Broadway but that soon fell apart.

"Plan B was London and I got professional pantomime in London and I got my equity card and I then moved to Dublin," he recalls. Parts in various commercials followed as well as roles in the likes of 'Fair City', 'Ros Na Rún' and 'Killianaskully'. He now lives in Tralee again and is immersed in local theatre and comedy groups.

But it's his role in 'Game of Thrones' that he admits opens many doors for him.

"I got the part of Kegs, I was one of the Night Watch," he notes. "I had one line in episode eight, the Mountain and the Viper. It's a very important line from the book, 'the rains of Castamere'. The way I was treated was fantastic. They put me in a trailer and said 'hang on there' and it turned out the actor sharing it with me was Jason Barry, who is from Dublin and was in Titanic, which blew my mind.

"I remember arriving on set and I said 'I'm in Lord of the Rings', which I was a huge fan of, it was the closest I could put it down to."

Hatchet

He adds: "I didn't get to meet to any of the big names but my buddy who plays my wench, we were in a brothel, my buddy was Lois Winstone, who is Ray Winstone's daughter. We both get killed in the scene. I was killed off camera by a guy with a hatchet and she was killed by an arrow fired by Rose, the girl who's married to Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) in real life.

"I don't get royalties, we were paid a flat fee. But 'Game of Thrones' has got me into loads of auditions since. I'm so thankful to it since."

Tim is delighted to have taken part in the new series 'First Dates', even though it's socially distanced. Some good things and bad things have happened in my life," he observes. "Like when I broke my leg in 1990, I literally went away from sport into the theatre, that's what happened. It was the sliding doors moment. I firmly believe that 'First Dates' this year was meant to happen for me, I'm still excited about it."

• Watch First Dates on RTE2, Thursday at 9.30pm


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