Tuesday 21 November 2017

Billy's 'salty' Wexford drama hits the small screen

By Esther Hayden

Writer Billy Roche will watch the first episode of 'Clean Break' at home on Sunday night.
Writer Billy Roche will watch the first episode of 'Clean Break' at home on Sunday night.

RTE's new mini-series shot on location in Wexford and penned by acclaimed Wexford playwright Billy Roche will be shown on RTE this weekend in the coveted Sunday night spot of 9.30 p.m.

The four-part 'Clean Break' will follow a small Wexford community as they deal with the effects of a botched tiger kidnapping. It tells the tale of Frank Mallon, a car dealer in Wexford town who finds himself cornered by debt.

After being told by his bank manager that he could lose his home, Frank becomes desperate and attempts to kidnap the manager's family.

The cast includes Irish actors Adam Fergus, Damien Molony, Aidan McArdle and 'Love/Hate' star Kelly Thornton as well as Wexford's own Dermot Murphy (28).

Dermot plays the role of Snowy and said the script was what first attracted him to the series. 'Billy is a genius, probably one of the best Irish playwrights around. It's always a privilege to be a part of any world that he creates,', he said.

Billy Roche said he was excited to see his project come to fruition. 'We finished filming before Christmas so it has been a long time coming. It's taken two years to come to fruition so it's exciting now. I've seen the series and it's in very good shape. There is a bit of class to it in terms of shooting too thanks to the directors and great intensity to it. Even though it's a mini series it's quite cinematic in places.

'There is a great cast in place and casting was gorgeous from my point of view. Obviously it was great to have three Wexford actors in it too with Dermot Murphy playing Snowy, Sean Byrne and Cillian Tobin.'

Thirteen-year-old Sean is playing the lead teenage role of 'Keith' while Cllian Tobin (15) plays his older brother 'Derek'.

Billy said he was thrilled that RTE chose to film some of the drama in Wexford. 'It was godsend that they came to Wexford to film it. Obviously it's very expensive to go on location so I was glad they decided to do it.

'The town has great character and you get to see that in the drama. It gives a salty feel to it so it was great to get them to come and of course it brought business to the town because they were here for 20 days.

'In total a little under half of the series is filmed in Wexford.'

Billy said there is a great buzz about the series and said he was hopefully that it can be sold to other countries.

'We are hoping to go abroad with it. RTE isn't overly successful with selling shows overseas but I'm hoping that this could be the one to change that.'

Billy said he plans to watch the first episode at home on Sunday night and said it will be like 'watching my baby getting stripped down.'

While the series is four episodes long Billy said that there is scope for another series. 'I wrote it as four self contained episodes but there is an open door there.'

He said he didn't know where the inspiration for the series came from.

'I don't have a criminal bone in my body. But it's more about the characters than the time. The lead actor is desperate and does a terrible thing out of desperation and this deals with the aftermath of that and how it will affect people for the rest of their lives.

'The kidnapping scene is really quite terrifying.'

RTE's 'Nationwide' will also feature interviews with some of the cast and Billy himself in its show on Friday night in the lead up to Sunday night's first episode.

Wexford People

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