WHEN he was nine years old, Damien Molony would cycle into the woods near his home in Ireland with a couple of mates. More often than not they wouldn’t be home for dinner but no one called the police if they were 20 minutes late — they were just kids too busy hunting for ghosts and climbing trees to care about time.
Molony, 36, is sharing the memory because he thinks that freedom is the appeal of Brassic, the rumbustious comedy-drama that struck a chord in its first run last year.
‘People who love Brassic are people who want to be part of the gang with Vinnie, Dylan and the rest,’ says Molony, who plays Dylan (aka ‘Dildo’). ‘It’s a show about hanging out with your mates, it’s about friendship. It’s the grown-up version of when you went racing around on your bike as a kid.’
We share a nostalgic nod and contemplate the sad fact that if a few children went missing in the woods for 20 minutes these days it would kick off a three-part ITV drama. But there are no murky overtones of that sort in Brassic. Molony reveals that the gang idea extended to the filming of the series itself. The on-screen chemistry between the scallywags gathered together by the show’s creator, Joe Gilgun, is no accident.
‘We hung out a lot before we started shooting and so, when we started filming, there was a real shorthand between us,’ says Molony, ‘That really steps up a gear in series two. It sounds really cheesy but, with us all in lockdown, when I watched the preview of the second series the other night I got really emotional seeing all my friends on screen.’
Now that Vinnie (Gilgun), the centre of the Brassic universe, has been brought back to life after his ‘death’ -dealt with via a bonkers dance sequence — the gang are into a new set of hilarious adventures, including a decapitation.
‘We laughed and laughed at that scene. I don’t know how they pulled it off,’ says Molony (pun intended).
Talking of ‘bonkers’, does he mind having ‘Dildo’ as a nickname?
‘Ha! That wasn’t in the original script,’ he says, ‘but Joe started using it in one scene and I could see the director laughing, and I was thinking, “This is going to stick!” Do I mind? I’ve got used to it.’
One of the best of many good things about Brassic is that it’s kicking back against the idea of ‘a gang’ being a pejorative term. But one thing about a gang is that each member is defined by one particular characteristic, and in the case of Dylan/Dildo, he’s the sensible one, even though his love life is a tangle and he can’t make up his mind on whether or not he should grow up and leave gang life behind.
‘He has to be the responsible adult,’ agrees Molony, ‘but his trouble is that he wants to please everybody and he doesn’t ever want to say no.’
If he could swap his character for any other, who would he choose?
‘That’s a great question,’ he says. ‘I think Tommo [a sexual libertine played with gusto by Ryan Sampson]. I can’t imagine Tommo ever worrying about anything. There’s something really appealing about that.’
Dylan’s worries are often alleviated by drugs — indeed the script calls for him to get high quite frequently. Method acting?
‘No!’ he says. ‘I remember at drama school being told that if you have to act drunk, you have act like you’re trying to keep it together. Less is more. But the blame for those scenes I lay at the door of writer Alex Ganley. He writes all the scenes where I’m getting high!’
■ Brassic 2 is on Sky One at 10pm on Thursdays and Now TV