“Yeah, we greased the right palms there, all that bribery did quite well,” jokes Neil Delamere about his IFTA (Irish Film & TV Awards) nomination for his documentary, ‘The Only Viking in The Village’ on RTE. The awards will be presented in Dublin this weekend.
The Edenderry native first came to national attention for his quick wit and cheeky banter on RTE’s The Panel which ran for 8 years until its cancellation last year. He has also starred in the BBC’s The Blame Game and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Channel 4’s Stand Up for the Week. Even with all that television experience, making a documentary about Viking history was quiet a departure from the norm for Neil, but it was always a subject that fascinated him.
He explains, “I wrote a show years ago for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival about Vikings, I just picked a period of history I was interested in. I am surprised by the reaction it got, lots of people were really enthused about it. People seemed to like it. We had lots of teachers ringing the production team asking for a slightly cleaner version for children. Schools asked if we could take out some of the bad words, but the raping and pillaging aspect of it was fine they just didn’t want me saying the F-word.”
For the show Delamere went back to his roots, his half Viking, half Norman roots, to be exact, to find out everything there is to know about our axe-toting Viking ancestors. In the two-part series, Neil uncovered the fact and fiction behind his hairy ancestors, while trying to see if he has any Viking left in him.
The culmination of his journey saw Neil put his new found Viking knowledge to the test by moving in with some modern day Vikings in Denmark, a group of rather hirsute gentlemen who want nothing more than to impale Neil on the end of a pointy sword. So did the Vikings really deserve the savage raping and pillaging image that has been left with us by the history books?
For now Neil Delamere can enjoy his IFTA nomination for best factual programme for ‘The Only Viking in The Village’ made by Anne Heffernan and Bernadine Carraher of Mind The Gap production company. Delamere’s next factual project will be another look back at Ireland’s history, when he focuses on the life of St. Patrick.
History will provide Neil with a wealth of material for projects, as someone once said, “after all history is just one thing after another”. Neil Delamere performs his Restructuring stand-up show at the Tullamore Court Hotel on Sunday March 18.