26 October 2020 The Irish Film & Television Network
‘Damo & Ivor’ Returns Tonight – IFTN Interviews Star/Writer Andy Quirke and Directors Rob & Ronan Burke
22 Sep 2014 : Deirdre Molumby
The highly-anticipated return of ‘Damo & Ivor’ will take place on our screens tonight and, as the tagline promises, it will be going ‘out with a bang, in with a bump’. The satirical comedy follows the title characters (both played by Andy Quirke, who also wrote the series with Jules Coll), who are separated at birth but meet again in their adolescence. As one of the brothers, Damo, has been raised on the mean streets of Dublin and the other, Ivor, grew up in Dublin’s affluent Foxrock area, their clashes have chaotic and hilarious consequences

IFTN spoke with the star and writer of ‘Damo & Ivor’, Andy Quirke, along with the directors of the second series, Rob and Ronan Burke, about the comedy which airs the first episode of the new season tonight.

You can see that they have matured in different ways. Damo and Ivor are getting older but they’re still messers. "

Andy Quirke says, “Ivor goes back to Foxrock, and Damo is just more of a Dennis the Menace, messing around and driving the guards crazy. Grano goes looking for love, because she’s been a widow for thirty years, but I can’t really give too much away!”

Ronan Burke adds, “For me, having seen the first season, it seems like [Andy is] expanding the universe with the characters and storylines. There’s a bit more depth to the characters; a lot of the ones with smaller roles now have bigger ones.”

Andy continues, “There’s more stories in it. And it’s just much better that the other characters get more of a look in. You can see that they have matured in different ways. Damo and Ivor are getting older but they’re still messers.”

The title characters first appeared on another popular satirical series, ‘Republic of Telly’. The sketches proved so popular that the comedy duo got their own series which premiered last year. “The good thing about the sketches was people got to know the characters before we even started the show,” Andy comments, “so we hit the ground running. I got to learn the characters as well.”

As for expanding the sketches to a full series, Andy found “it was really hard to do, but it’s been amazing. It was Jules [Coll, co-writer] and my dream for years. The thing is though, it’s got better. With a lot of series it’s hard to make the following ones better, but it has been amazing seeing the show grow and get bigger and better.”

Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes, and it seems having two directors, as well as two writers, helm this series has really worked. The two time IFTA award-winning Burke brothers previously worked on TV series ‘The Importance of Being Whatever’ together, as well as the short ‘Runners’ and the upcoming feature ‘Standby’.

Rob Burke states: “The collaborative aspect of the way we work gelled really well with the way [Andy and Jules] worked. We also understand what it’s like to work in a team and finish each other’s sentences.

“As regards what we brought from other productions, the stuff we’ve mostly done is comedies. But this has been a different kind of comedy, a higher key than what we’ve worked on before. We looked at the last season and we talked a lot with Jules and Andy to get ideas for where to go with the story, because they would know the characters better than anyone in the world.”

Regarding what we can expect of the new series, Andy tells IFTN, “The show has changed in this series even more than before. If you were to take the hat off Damo, and the shirt away from Ivor, it can almost go very close to real life. It is exaggerated but there’s more drama.”

Ronan comments, “It’s great to see the characters interact – without giving too much away, characters that haven’t necessarily interacted before come together, and it makes for really funny situations.”

The second series of ‘Damo & Ivor’ pushed the team to their limits, with greater set pieces, more group scenes and an intense schedule that meant all six episodes had to be shot in 24 days. Ronan explains, “The scale and the scope of this series is bigger, that’s the other thing. There are more characters in scenes, and each episode grows to bigger episodes. Sometimes you’d have to shoot two massive scenes on one day, just because of the budget and schedules. Everyone was hands on deck.”

With the new series starting tonight, the star of the show is looking to the future. “I’d love for ‘Damo & Ivor’ to go to the UK and everywhere else. That would be my dream. Because if it’s that big here, why can’t it be that big in the UK? ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ went everywhere, for example.”

Rob continues: “There’s no reason it shouldn’t because at heart, it’s a very primal story about these two brothers that have spent their life apart and are getting to know each other. It has heart, it’s about family.”

‘Damo & Ivor’ airs tonight on RTÉ2 at 10 pm.

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