PJ Mara looks forward to watching portrayal in ‘Charlie’

RTÉ says 724,000 viewed first episode of political drama about Charlie Haughey

Aidan Gillen speaks about Charlie, a the three part drama about the life of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey. Video: Ronan McGreevy


PJ Mara, Charles Haughey’s former press secretary, was not one of the 724,000 viewers who watched the first episode of the Charlie trilogy, screened Sunday night on RTÉ One television.

But the former taoiseach’s confidant is still looking forward to seeing how Love/ Hate star Tom Vaughan-Lawlor portrays him in the drama series.

“I’m away at the moment but I’m getting the box set when I come back and I’m going to have a gala evening for all my friends,” Mr Mara told The Irish Times.

“I think for somebody of my generation it’s probably interesting, but I’m not so sure what it means to young people,” he added.

Former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O’Rourke said she enjoyed the show but was “troubled” by the portrayal of her brother, Brian Lenihan.

“The guy who did Brian looked physically very like Brian but he was portrayed as kind of one-dimensional,” she said. “There was far more to Brian than that. But it’s drama meeting history.”

Mrs O’Rourke said Charlie was very well produced and praised Aidan Gillen’s performance in the lead role.

Aidan Gillen was very good as Charlie. The voice was perfectly like him, although his face was very young and fresh-looking,” she said. “I don’t know if Charlie was ever young and fresh. Maybe he’ll get more careworn.”

She also singled-out Vaughan-Lawlor’s performance, saying he had captured Mara’s “eyebrow-raising and comments” very well.

“By and large I thought it was very good. It’s living history for people like me.”

There was no response to the programme from the Haughey family, with Mr Haughey’s son, former minister Seán Haughey, declining an invitation to comment.

Adrian Lynch, channel controller for RTÉ One, said the station had enjoyed a “great start” to 2015, with 724,000 viewers tuning in to the first episode of the “strong, original, home-produced drama”, delivering a 43.5 per cent audience share.