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Sunday Life

Nadine Coyle joins patrol on the Soft Border as BBC comedy returns to screens this week

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By John Toner

Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle joins a host of home-grown celebs as hit BBC comedy Soft Border Patrol returns to screens this week.

The multi-talented songstress appears alongside Holywood comedian Shane Todd with country singer Hugo Duncan and actress Karen Hassan also popping up in the new series.

Funnyman Shane Todd, who recently finished a stand-up tour taking him across the island of Ireland, said Nadine was a lot of fun to work with and he reckons the 33-year-old could have a future in comedy.

He said: "She was great. The worry for me was that I love to have a bit of a laugh and I wasn't sure what I could or couldn't joke about.

"When someone's a pop star you're worried if you'll be able to have a laugh with them but she was great and really self-deprecating so we clicked really well. We worked great together and had a really good relationship.

"Her comedy timing was especially good as well. She knew exactly how to play it. I think people will enjoy what she brings to the show. She definitely has a future in comedy acting for sure."

The new series sees the cast taking on ever more ridiculous scenarios policing the imaginary boundary.

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Producer Marie McDonald took time out of her packed editing schedule to speak to Sunday Life about what viewers can expect from the latest series.

She said: "Much more laughs and a lot more jokes still rooted in the reality of Brexit and what's happening on the border. We like to try and show the viewpoint of people who live and work on the border and poke fun at the trials and tribulations which have arisen over the last few years.

"It's a little different in that our border patrollers are more settled into their roles and deal with things with more confidence but at the same time wondering what specific responsibilities they have. They're a bit like Spiderman except they have lots of responsibility without the power.

"It's a lot of fun from a production point of view. There really isn't anything too ridiculous when it comes to the border at the moment so even though it's a little fantastical and out there it is still rooted in reality and truth.

"We have an opportunity to say and do the things government ministers can't in terms of ideas and situations, it's hilarious and ridiculous. Some of the stories we came up with have ended up on the news as proposed government policy, we could probably sort out the border ourselves!"

The producer, originally from Moville on the Inishowen peninsula, Co Donegal, says she feels a personal connection to the show given the fact that she remembers a time when armed border checks took place.

She said: "I am of an age where I remember the border and I have enjoyed being able to bring that knowledge to it. We have a dark sense of humour in Ireland and it's been really enjoyable on a personal level to take part in that.

"Comedy really lets you stretch yourself as a producer and writer but I love the fact it's based on real life and real things which we have to deal with. A lot of stuff we lampoon is based in reality."

Asked if she could foresee a spin-off called Hard Border Patrol in the event of a No Deal Brexit, she added: "If we do get some kind of a deal or get something in place I think we'll still be in the same position in a year's time.

"We could be making series thirty the way things are going!"

The new series of Soft Border Patrol begins on BBC One Northern Ireland this Friday at 10.35pm.

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