BBC comedy star Paddy Raff says he never set out to be a TV hit


Comic Paddy Raff says he never had any plans to be on TV.

ut he’s now become the busiest man in showbiz with a pilot, a Christmas special and two series in less than a year.

Paddy is back with another slice of Granny Raff, Nigel and Fr Pat next week and admits he’s pinching himself that his career has taken off.

“It’s all happened so fast I haven’t had time to take it all in or get a big head about,” he says.

“I never had any ambitions to be on TV.

“I grew up watching Give My Head Peace and all the stuff the Hole in the Wall Gang do and now I’m in the same TV schedules as them.”

The former call centre worker and wedding band guitarist has also found that his huge fan base has increased his pulling power.

New faces in the new series include Dan Gordon, Paul Mallon who plays Dennis in Derry Girls, and Terry Keeley from the comedy.

He’s already recruited Bronagh Taggart to play his wife as well as keeping it in the family with his actor siblings Claire and Philip. Paddy was also delighted that Luther star Michael Smiley signed up for the Christmas special.

“I still don’t class myself as anyone who could get these people,” says the comic.

“I was writing some of the new characters and saying Dan Gordon would be great for this and the producer Chris Jones said we’ll ask him. I’m pinching myself.”

Dan plays multiple roles, including Granny Raff’s love interest, a New York cop and a food critic.

Paddy returns with a few new looks himself including DJ Morgan K, Professor Derek Gilligan and newsreader Henry Campbell.

“Henry was the one from the pilot who has to read out all these crazy stories at the end of the news. We’re taking him back to the nineties to see what would the news be like if Covid had happened then.

“DJ Morgan K is one of those annoying local radio presenters who loves the sound of his own voice and never knows the names of songs.

“The professor is looking back at us from the future, going through people’s social media accounts and printing it off and it’s called The Face Book.”

The hard-working comic had created so many characters he had to leave some out to make room for the favourites.

Fr Pat’s all-request rave Mass is back, and he takes the music to the next level when he reforms his old band, Prayerosmith.

Nigel from BT9, or Beverley Hills 02890 as he calls it, is outraged when he has to get a Covid test after being denied entry to one of its top restaurants.

Since he created the character, Paddy has discovered Northern Ireland is full of Nigels.

“He came from a Snapchat filter with the moustache and glasses and big hair. The voice was based on one of my best friends, Mark, who was getting the videos sent to him from people saying this character is like you.

“But Mark isn’t as dumb as Nigel. He’s smart and talented and all the things Nigel wants to be.

“I have met so many Nigels. People have booked me for corporate gigs saying, ‘come and meet this guy, he is Nigel’. You think the character is far-fetched and then people send me videos and it’s him.”

The 36-year-old dad of two is delighted that his comedy is constantly reaching new fans and his online following has spread to the UK and America. Some of his videos have been watched millions of times and he can get 80,000 Facebook likes on new material.

He’s always working on new ideas and says the quick turnaround keeps things fresh.

And he believes things could have been very different if Covid hadn’t hit.

“When I look back on it, I’ve been able to make a TV show during lockdown, I’ve had time at home with the kids and I’ve been able to give the TV series my undivided attention.

“I’ve had the best of both worlds,” he says.

– The Paddy Raff Show is on BBC1 on Friday at 10.45pm.

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Online Editors

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