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Missing Daniel O'Donnell's swagger on Strictly? Well don't worry, he's still showing off his moves and whole lot more on his TG4 music show Opry an Iúir. It turns out he's quite the man for the saucy quips and cheeky carry-on as this series of out-takes from the show proves.
With a whopping 740,000 people tuning in the see The Late Late Show Country Special last week, it shows the grá for country music is very much alive and well in Ireland.
Thankfully for country fans, every Wednesday evening O'Donnell takes to the stage to belt out some of his greatest hits as gaeilge on TG4's Opry an Iúir, along with throwing out a few some saucy dance moves and cheeky one liners. Ooooer.
Speaking about the series, Daniel said: “I really enjoyed presenting Opry an Iúir again this year. The guests were all fantastic. I got to sing a few songs in Irish. A first for me! It's so good to have a show like this to showcase some of our great country stars.”
TG4 have scheduled a special show on December 23 in which Daniel celebrates Brendan Shine’s 50 years in music, while for fans north of the border there's a chance to see Opry an Iúirs when it airs on BBC Northern Ireland in January.
Tell us about learning the songs in Irish for the show. How did you go about doing that and where were you when practicing?
When the people from Big Mountain Productions approached me about doing the Opry shows this year I asked if they would like me to sing a song each week in Irish. I had the idea of getting some of my better known songs translated to sing. They thought it a great idea so we asked Deirbhile Ní Churraighín to work on the translations. She then met with me. She showed me what she had done. I was delighted with the result and from there I started to learn the songs. I was at home in Donegal while I was rehearsing.
Was it hard to sing a song you know so well in English in Irish and did you have fun singing/learning them?
It was quite different learning a song in Irish. Even though I can speak and understand some Irish. I'm not fluent. Therefore it's not as easy for me to remember the words. Even though I knew the melody of the songs, the phrasing was different in places so that the Irish words would fit. I loved the experience and hopefully will do some more of the same in the future.
If you had your wish for any country artist in the world to come on the show, who would it be?
I don't have to think about that answer. It would have to be my idol Loretta Lynn.
What was your standout performance from either one of your guests or your duets in this series?
There were many highlights in this series but singing My Forever Friend with Charlie Landsborough was very special.
Brendan Shine celebrates 50 years in music this year and is still going strong in the business. What do you see yourself doing in another 18yrs when you celebrate your 50th year in the business (i.e. still performing, recording, making TV shows etc.)?
Back in 1984 when I was in the early days of my career I got to tour with Brendan Shine in the UK. He was and still is a great entertainer. It was a great pleasure to be involved in this show celebrating his 50yrs in show business. What I'll be doing when I get to 50yrs on the road, who knows. If I'm able to sing and people still want to listen, it would be lovely to think I would still be singing.
What is it about presenting in Irish that you love? Why is the language so important to you?
Even though I'm not a fluent Irish speaker, I try whenever I can to speak in Irish. It is our native language and I feel we should try to preserve and promote it whenever we can.
Doing something so different currently with Strictly, would you like to bring some of the dancing into the next series of Opry more? Will you be inviting Kristina over to the next series to appear?
There has been a huge increase in the number of young people dancing in recent times due to the popularity of all the younger singers who have made a name for themselves. Therefore it might be a nice feature to have one song where we would see people dancing. I never thought about Kristina coming to dance in a show. If that came to pass I'm sure it would go down a treat as she is a fantastic dancer.
If you were to dance on Strictly to one of your own songs from any of the Opry series' which one would it be?
It would have to be "I Just Want To Dance With You".
Do you have any funny stories about the filming of the series?
We have great fun while filming the shows. A lot of the time is spent reminiscing about things that have happened over the years. The day we were recording the shows with Jim Devine and Johnny Brady we were getting ready and when I put on my shirt it was about 4 sizes too small for me. After a moment of panic I realised that I had lifted Johnny’s shirt instead of my own. I told him that he must be wearing a boy’s size. I couldn't be that big!!