GROWING up in a small area of Ireland, showing off was almost frowned upon for Ardal O’Hanlon.

For the comic it was a battle of wanting to be in the limelight but battling to not come across as a show-off.

However, fast forward to 2019 and the man who won the hearts of a nation as Father Dougal McGuire in the hit Channel 4 show Father Ted, O’Hanlon is now commenting on the show-offs of the world.

“I’m a very reluctant show-off,” explains the Irish comedian.

“I come from a part of the world where showing off is anathema; it’s the worst thing you could possibly do.

“When you grow up in a border area of Ireland, people are very wary and cagey and keep their head down at all times. Don’t speak unless it’s absolutely essential, and don’t give anything away. So showing off was a really terrible thing to do; it’s up there with armed robbery.”

He added: “I was always conscious that this is showing off and I’m slightly uncomfortable about that.

“I suppose the question I ask myself almost every day is ‘why do I do this?’ And as I get older, ‘why do I still do this?’ I suppose to some extent this is what I’m addressing in the show.”

Having taken some time away from stand-up comedy, the 53-year-old admits he thought he had cracked everything his life had to offer him.

But in an age of raging populism, #MeToo, identity politics, the end of truth, the collapsing middle ground, peak avocado and £15 gin and tonics, O’Hanlon found that he still had a bit more to say and started work on his new show: the Showing Off Must Now Go On.

O’Hanlon added: “There are always things to say, but at the moment there’s a kind of urgency. I think as you get older you have to be true to yourself.

“For me, it’s more about material rather than just gags; it’s about expressing yourself and it has to be based on real feelings and emotions.

“I hope it still has the silly and surreal qualities that I always brought to stand-up but it has to be based on something.”

Having appeared in TV shows such as Big Bad World, My Hero and most recently Death in Paradise, O’Hanlon is still known best to most as dim-witted but well-intentioned priest of Craggy Island.

And it is a time the comic himself looks back on fondly.

“I sometimes pinch myself that I was in it and that it was so successful,” O’Hanlon said.

“I was in the throes of a burgeoning stand-up career at the time when we made it, and that was always my focus at the time; we’d be rehearsing during the day and I’d be gigging at night.

“I arrived in London the year before and things were going well for me, and Father Ted was almost like a distraction from that, a brilliant distraction obviously.”

But stand-up remains his first showbusiness love, and O’Hanlon will be sharing The Showing Off Must Now Go On with a Basingstoke audience on March 24.

For more details or to purchase tickets visit