WITH its Irish charm and cast of stars in the making, Ballykissangel was one of the most popular TV dramas of the 90s.
The BBC show, set in the fictional Irish village with the same name, boasted 10million viewers at its peak – and gave Oscar-nominated Banshees of Inisherin stars Kerry Condon and Colin Farrell their big breaks.
Kerry recently hinted there was a hint of romance between her and Colin on set, telling The Sun: “I met Colin Farrell. And that’s all I’m going to say about that… we had a great time. And then he got a plane to America.”
Having run from 1996 until 2001, a lot has changed for the cast of Ballykissangel; here we reveal where they are now.
Stephen starred in the first three series as Father Peter Clifford, a priest who moves to the village from Manchester.
He went on to become one of the biggest stars on TV, appearing in everything from The Bay to DCI Banks.
He also played Jayne Torvill’s father George in the 2018 TV movie Torvill & Dean.
Not long after he began working on Ballykissangel, Stephen split from his wife of five years, Celia Anastasia, due to his busy work schedule.
He then started a relationship with his onscreen love interest Dervla Kirwan, eventually getting engaged.
Amazingly, Celia gave the union her blessing and the trio had dinner together to celebrate, but he and Dervla never made it down the aisle, splitting two years later.
Stephen went on to marry Nicci Taylor in 2001 and they share a daughter, Daisy, but they split in 2006. He has been with current partner Elaine Young since 2007.
In May this year Stephen will stand trial, accused of battering a dad so badly he was left with a double skull fracture – something he denies, claiming he acted in self-defence.
The late-night bust-up is alleged to have happened on May 30 last year, outside the house where Stephen was living at the time in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.
He is said to have “unlawfully and maliciously” attacked Karl Poole, with him left so seriously hurt he was unable to work.
Dervla Kirwan played pub owner Assumpta Fitzgerald in Ballykissangel, until her character died at the end of the third series.
She continued acting, appearing in shows like Silent Witness and Harlan Coben’s The Stranger on Netflix.
Irish Dervla has admitted she found being catapulted to fame on Ballykissangel “very difficult”.
She’s also opened up on how she suffered with bulimia for 16 years, due to “sexism and misogyny” throughout her career.
Dervla told Woman’s Way magazine: “There are loads of things that have happened to me that were incredibly destructive and painful in my life as a woman, such as the sexism and misogyny I’ve experienced.
“If I lodge a complaint now, it will be listened to. Back then, if somebody was being sexual or predatory towards me, there was nowhere I could go to say it or get advice on handling it, which was terrible. You were just told to get on with it.”
Kirwan said it impacted her mental health and her eating disorder, adding: “I think [bulimia] was very much a reaction to the anger I felt and to not having a voice.
“It’s all about mental health and that’s what triggered it, but I’m through it and am stronger than ever before.”
Colin is now a Hollywood A-lister, but it was his small role in Ballykissangel that made him a household name.
He once said: “Ballykissangel was one of the f*****g greatest things that ever happened to me.”
Despite the fact he’s nominated for an Oscar for Banshees of Inisherin, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Colin as, with fame, came drink, drugs and women.
Throughout his partying heyday he was linked to famous women including Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
In 2003 he became a father for the first time with American model Kim Bordenave, and two year slater he checked into rehab for addiction to recreational drugs and painkillers for the first time.
His son James has the genetic disorder Angelman syndrome, which causes problems with speech and balance, and Colin has credited him with helping him stay sober.
“What my first son James did was allow me to care for something when I couldn’t care for myself. James saved my life,” he said.
Colin checked into rehab again in 2018. He has also had to deal with sex tapes and stalkers throughout his career.
In January 2006 he filed a lawsuit against his ex-girlfriend, American model Nicole Narain, and the Internet Commerce Group (ICG) for the unauthorised public distribution of a 13-minute sex tape they had made in 2003. It was eventually settled amicably.
In July that same year, Colin was being interviewed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when a telephone sex worker named Dessarae Bradford evaded security, walked on stage, confronted him and threw a self-published book-length exposé of him on Leno’s desk.
As Colin escorted her off the stage and handed her over to NBC security, she shouted: “I’ll see you in court!”
The following day, Colin obtained a restraining order against her and the incident was edited out of the broadcast.
Dessarae attempted to sue Colin for abusive messages twice, but the lawsuits were dismissed due to a lack of evidence. She also failed a lie detector test on TV when attempting to prove her claims.
Many think James Nesbitt’s big break was Cold Feet, but he starred in Ballykissangel before that as Leo McGarvey.
Since the 90s James has continued to act and has become very adept at playing a policeman or detective, having taken on that role in Bloodlands, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man and Stay Close.
Over the years James’ distinct eyebrows have become famous in their own right; he recently admitted he now wears stick-ons due to suffering with alopecia – a condition that causes hair to fall out.
Most recently, 58-year-old James, who has two adult daughters with his ex-wife, has taken on “daddy duties” once again with his girlfriend Katy Gleadhill.
James and Katy briefly split two years ago, as she wanted a baby before she turned 40.
The actress then conceived with the help of a close pal and gave birth to a daughter last year. But the couple reunited and James is now helping her raise the tot.
Niall Tobin starred as Father MacNally in Ballykissangel throughout the series.
He continued to act after, and was even in a film with Cate Blanchett in 2003, Veronica Guerin.
Niall sadly died on 13th November 2019, eight days before his 90th birthday, having suffered from a form of dementia in the years before.
His final film was called Remains, released in 2018.
Tina Kellegher played Niamh, the daughter of wealthy businessman Brian Quigley and wife of village copper Ambrose Egan throughout the whole series.
After Ballykissangel she mostly worked in theatre and took smaller roles in TV production, but she’s played policewoman Tina Mahon in the first four series of BBC Radio 4 series Baldi.
In 2020 she starred in the hit series Normal People.
Coming from one of Ireland’s wealthiest families – after her grandfather Jefferson Smurfit founded the billion-pound company Smurfit in 1934 – Victoria was told she’d never work as an actress in Ireland unless she changed her last name.
However, since playing Orla O’Connell in Ballykissangel, she’s proved them wrong.
She appeared in About A Boy alongside Hugh Grant, and played Cruella De Vil in hit series Once Upon A Time.
Victoria divorced her husband Douglas Baxter in 2015 after 15 years of marriage and three children together, and said it took her a year to feel normal again.
She explained: “When it first happened, I lost a tonne of weight, I couldn’t eat, I sort of felt someone had hands around my throat so even if I did put food in my mouth, there’s no chance of swallowing it. And I didn’t feel hungry for about nine months I think.”
Victoria’s eldest daughter Evie has Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, an eye condition which leads to blindness.
She was diagnosed when she was just 12 years old and her condition is deteriorating as she gets older.
Deirdre Donnelly played Siobhan, the village vet, in all six series of Ballykissangel.
Since the TV show ended, Deirdre has starred on stage and in TV shows.
She most recently played Mo Dennings in Brassic, alongside Michelle Keegan, from 2019 to 2020.
Aine Ni Mhuiri
Aine Ni Mhuiri played Kathleen Hendley in all six series of Ballykissangel.
She has continued to act since, and starred in Oscar-nominated film Brooklyn in 2015 opposite Saoirse Ronan.
She was most recently seen as Dolores in the 2019 movie End of Sentence.
Since playing village schoolmaster Brendan Kearney in Ballykissangel, Gary has continued to work onstage and in television and film.
But he has become more focused on running pubs over the years instead.
He lived in Brighton and owned its popular Lion & Lobster pub from 2001 until 2014 when he sold it to a pub chain for £4.5 million and moved to Dublin.
He currently owns the Walrus pub in Brighton and the Dalkey Duck pub in Dublin.
Following her two-episode stint on Ballykissangel, Kerry continued acting, starring in film Intermission with Colin Farrell again, in 2011, in which his character punched hers in the face.
She also starred as Octavia of the Julii in the BBC series Rome, and became known for her frequent nude scenes.
It took Kerry until this year to win a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress and be nominated for an Oscar, for Banshees of Inisherin.
In his Golden Globes acceptance speech for his performance, Colin acknowledged this and said: “Kerry, to finally see the world… after 20 years of acting, find your work now, you’re extraordinary.”
Prior to Ballykissangel, Tony Doyle was already well-known having starred in the likes of Taggart and Vanity Fair.
He took on the role of wealthy businessman Brian Quigley in Ballykissangel when the show started.
But in 2000, he suddenly died in hospital aged 58.
The role of Sean Dillon in Ballykissangel was specially written for Lorcan Cranitch.
Following the success of the show, Sean starred in the short-lived drama series McCready and Daughter, taking on a role originally intended for Tony, who died shortly before the series was due to be filmed.
And he’s continued to act since, even starring opposite James Nesbitt again in Bloodlands in 2021.
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