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The Fall star Lynch on how Northern Ireland childhood shaped career

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 01/10/2016

John Lynch
John Lynch

A star of hit TV drama The Fall has spoken about how growing up in Northern Ireland influenced his acting.

John Lynch spent his early years in south Armagh.

And the actor said the serial killer drama, also starring Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson, was more plausible than it sometimes seemed.

"I think writer Allan Cubitt has been very clever, because he's used those shadows - the shadows I grew up in, and tried to escape from - really well. There's this overpowering sense of trapdoors to darkness.

"The North is just starting to get over what has happened, and out of that shadow of death, this very unusual killer emerges. Belfast carries that resonance, and I think it's totally believable that the city would spawn somebody as cocky and as lethal as Paul Spector."

In an interview with the Radio Times, Mr Lynch (54) recalls leaving here to pursue acting.

"It wasn't just what happened on the streets or on the barricades, with petrol bombs or Armalites, it was the echoes of violence that went through every household in Northern Ireland, each family got touched.

"I had an English teacher, Sean Hollywood, who used to put me in plays, mainly in the Irish language, and he said to me: 'I think you should go to drama school'.

"That seemed scary and different, but Sean helped me audition and get a grant for drama school in London. I arrived just before the Falklands War. It was Thatcher's time, a dark time, but it was just good to get away."

In 1993 movie In The Name Of The Father he played Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four wrongly accused of IRA bombings.

He played Bobby Sands in 1996's Some Mother's Son, and in 1995 he was in another Troubles-centred film, Nothing Personal.

He lives in France, which he says helps him write his novels about Ireland more objectively. But living there with partner Christine is more than just about writing.

"I love the challenge of existing in a new culture. With Christine, I speak in French. We kiss in French. I'm doing my second film in French," he said.

"Being an exile has done me the world of good."

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