Bronagh Waugh to officially tie the knot after legalisation of gay marriage
Actress Bronagh Waugh will finally have her dream wedding, now that Northern Ireland has made same-sex marriage legal.
The 37-year-old actress "celebrated her love" in a ceremony with partner Richard Peacock in Somerset last September but vowed she wouldn't legally tie the knot until same-sex marriage was introduced at home in line with the rest of the UK.
She told Sunday Life: "Yes, this is it! Now I can finally get married properly. We are are going to do it. We will dust the dress off and do it properly back in Northern Ireland. I am going to have a big, big party and invite everybody from Love Equality and Amnesty and all my old friends from home and have a big party and celebration for equality.
"We've done the 'wedding' so we are just going to do the legal bit and get the piece of paper somewhere on the North coast and then I want to go to the Harbour Bar and celebrate."
The Coleraine star, who has appeared in Derry Girls, Unforgotten and The Fall is planning to wear her floral billowing Bardot style gown again for the big day.
"I will wear the dress again. Sure, why not? This time I can actually wreck it because I won't need it again later down the line," she explained. "I was going 'Nobody step on the dress as I need to wear it again'. We just had a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony and we both wore rings. But there is nothing legal binding us. I'm sure Rich will be very relieved or maybe frightened to finally do it!"
Abortion was decriminalised and same-sex marriage leglislation - which was passed by MPs at Westminster - came into force at midnight on October 21. The first same-sex weddings in Northern Ireland are due in February 2020.
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Bronagh, who has tirelessly campaigned for abortion as well as equal marriage on behalf of her mum Bonnie - who is in a same-sex marriage - and the rest of the LGBQT community, was filming in Malta when the law came into force.
She said: "It happened when I was in Malta, which was so weird. I was elated but I wish I could have been at home to celebrate properly. I was going 'Who do I hug?' I spent most of the day crying. The cast knew how much of a big deal it is to me but it was such a shame Rich and I weren't together on the day. He has stood by me through all of this campaigning and the horrendous trolling.
"The last two weeks of the campaign before it became legal was a whole brand new level of people sending me graphic pictures and really upsetting stuff. But he's been so supportive of me. I am just so thankful for him standing by me and sticking up for me and coming on all the marches. It's amazing for me to have someone like him."
Bronagh has been in Malta for the last month shooting Agatha Christie and The Curse of Ishtar, which is set to be one of the must-watches over Christmas on Channel 5. It sees author Agatha Christie, bruised from her divorce, travel to the deserts of Iraq in the late 1920s for an archaeological dig where she unravels a series of mysterious murders. Bronagh plays the second wife of Sir Constance Bernard, in charge of administration for the dig.
"This is about Agatha Christie herself rather than the novels. It was my first period drama and I loved the costumes. Maybe it will lead to more period dramas. I hope it does. I would love it, downstairs in Downton. It would be great," she said.
But even on set, helping the less fortunate is never far from Bronagh's mind. While she's had success in Northern Ireland she's committed to fighting for women and LGBQT rights across the world.
"In Malta, abortion is totally illegal so it was bittersweet because the day it got announced Doctors for Choice asked me to have a meeting with them to share information and solidarity and campaign techniques," she said.
"They were all delighted for me, but then we had to face the reality of the most harrowing and upsetting stories of what some girls and women are going through on that small island. I promised I would try and help them as well.
"Malta is a big tax haven for filming and they have six films being shot there now, so I have suggested to them to reach out to actors there. We've tried Billy Connolly and Sophie Turner as she shot there for Game of Thrones and Nathalie Emmanuel to help as well. I've got badges for Siobhan McSweeney (from Derry Girls) who I am seeing later. I am absolutely delighted for our success and to celebrate that but there is more to do and there is help we can give to our countries.
"I am just so proud that Northern Ireland is finally in line with the rest of the UK and Ireland. I'm so proud of this wonderful country and how much we have to offer. When people came to visit us here that was the two things that were a dark cloud hanging over the country. I just think we can hopefully find healing and get back to a more equal and better place for everyone now.
"It's a huge step and being in Malta made me realise how far we have come."