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Something about Mary as Chris O'Dowd revisits his roots

Comedy star Steve Coogan is to play an unlikely backer of Mary Robinson in a new TV series starring Roscommon actor Chris O'Dowd.

The man behind TV's Alan Partridge will be seen in a cameo role in 'Moone Boy' which 'IT Crowd' star Mr O'Dowd will film in his home town of Boyle, Co Roscommon in January.

Chronicling Mr O'Dowd's early years, Mr Coogan will play a local fish factory owner in an episode themed around the presidential election which saw Mary Robinson elected as Ireland's first female president.

"My mum and dad are divided in the race. My dad backs Brian Lenihan for president and is putting up his campaign posters around Boyle but my mum supports Mary Robinson.

"The only problem is that there's no Labour support for Mary Robinson because where I live is such a big Fianna Fail county. So the Mary supporters go and see the owner of a local fish factory to ask him for money for Mary's campaign and he makes all sorts of suggestions about what he wants in return," Mr O'Dowd revealed last night in Dublin's Guinness Storeouse where he was promoting Sky's winter schedule.

Star of hit movie 'Bridesmaids', the 32-year-old penned the series, which will be shown on SKY 1 HD next year, with his longtime friend, screenwriter Nick Murphy.

In the series, Mr O'Dowd plays the imaginary friend of 11-year-old Martin Moone, whom he leads astray. Their adventures loosely draw on his own childhood and is set in 1990.

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Along with a yet-to-be revealed Irish cast, Irish bands including Horslips and the Sultans of Ping will be heard on the soundtrack.

Mr O'Dowd said he and his producers had been working hard to find actors with strong regional Irish accents to star in the series.

"If the audience outside Ireland doesn't understand what they're saying I don't care. People in England watch 'The Wire' and get it so we're not putting any subtitles on this," he said.

The London-based star said his neighbours in Boyle had nothing to fear from his portrayal of the town in the TV show.

"It's a very loving look at where I grew up.

"Boyle is a great town and I feel like I'm serving (it) well. It's set in 1990 and thankfully Boyle hasn't changed an awful lot," he added.

Mr O'Dowd also showed he had a few killer dance moves when he posed with Diversity's Ashley, star of 'Ashley Banjo's Secret Street Crew', which will also feature on the new schedule from SKY 1 HD.

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