Aiden Gillen is returning to the small screen for an upcoming biopic about legendary Irish comedian Dave Allen. Commissioned by the BBC in association with RTÉ, it's set to air on Easter Monday and today the first images of Aidan as Dave were released.
Dubliner Allen was one of the most popular but also controversial comedians of his time, enjoying a 40-year career. He died in March 2005.
Called 'Dave Allen at Peace', Aidan Gillen will play the provocative godfather of modern stand-up, while comedian and RTÉ presenter Tommy Tiernan will play Dave’s father. Pauline McLynn and Ian McElhinney are also playing roles in the show. Other members of the cast include Gillen's fellow Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill as well as Joanne Crawford (Line of Duty), Simon Day (The Fast Show) and Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet).
Produced by Darlow Smithson Productions, the hour-long factual drama will focus on the controversial comedian’s forty-year career, from performing alongside his brother as a Butlin’s Redcoat to becoming one of Ireland and the UK’s comedy greats.
Written by Stephen Russell (Peaky Blinders), this film will explore "how Dave’s comedy genius was shaped by the tragic loss of his father, his brother… and his finger. How he survived decades of the Catholic Church’s wrath, death threats from the IRA and a ban by Irish and Australian TV, only to have his television career end in controversy when he used the f-word in an innocuous joke".
Speaking about Dave Allen on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday, Tommy Tiernan said: "Dave Allen was the first intelligent Irishman on English television, and was so hugely important for Irish people in England, and Irish people in Ireland. But more so the Irish in England, because we'd been stereotyped up until then as kind of loveable eejits with drunken wisdom and an eye for mischief.
"Dave was the first man that I can think of that went on English TV and said, 'No, actually. Not only are some of us incredibly smart, but we still - with that smartness - have an eye for 'divilment''. It cast Irish people [in a new light]."
"When you think about it, it was the Fifties and Sixties in England when those signs on the doors said, 'No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish'," Tiernan continued.
"And in 1970, then you had an Irishman with the most popular comedy TV show in Britain. It wasn't dumbing it down; he was a very, very smart man. And his jokes were so perfectly crafted and wild... Incredible man."
Dave Allen at Peace will air on RTÉ One on Monday 2 April at 9.30pm.