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Nationwide's Cassin thinks father is inspiring

1 of 1 Anne Cassin
Anne Cassin

Anne Cassin is one of the best-known faces of RTÉ and already has a rich career behind her and a busy future ahead and judging by her actor father, Barry, it runs in the family.

At almost 90 years of age, Barry Cassin has returned to RTÉ Radio 1 to record yet another radio play for Drama on One and he told RTÉ TEN that he really enjoys the experience.

Not least of all because at this stage in his life he enjoys the fact that “I don’t have to learn the lines, I can just read them!”

Some of the biggest actors in Ireland have worked on Radio 1 dramas including Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rae, Killian Murphy, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Saoirse Ronan.

“Last time I did something, it was a film with Saoirse Ronan”, the well-known actor spoke about his role in 2012’s Byzantium, “I was very lucky, all my scenes were with her. It was a Neil Jordan film and that was very exciting, that was in Ballymun.”

Speaking about his new role in Malachy McKenna’s The Quiet Land, directed by Radio 1’s Aidan Mathews, he said: “It’s a very good play by a young man who I have never met before but he has written a very good play.

“I’m playing Ignatius and Kevin [Flood] is playing the other character, there’s just the two of us in it. It’s a story about two old men, old friends and they have their ups and their downs, their rows and agreements and it is very well written and he has a real sense of dialogue and a real sense of country.”

Listen to The Quiet Land by Malachy McKenna on RTÉ Radio Drama on One at 8pm on June 8.

One of five children, Anne is an established journalist and presenter with RTÉ having worked on a number of prime-time programmes and it’s clear that her father is very proud of her, adding, with a wonderfully warm laugh, “Well she’s there a long time, its time she knew the job by now.”

Anne added: “Yes, Dad is very proud of me. Maybe I might be living a bit of a career dream for him through myself. He’s always interested in what I do. 

“He watches the programmes [that I work on] Nationwide, or the News or CrimeCall or whatever it was in the past and offer an opinion, usually constructive, hugely supportive and very occasionally a small bit critical!

“I’m doing Nationwide now and he watches that a lot and that’s nice and gratifying because my children don’t watch it!”

Nationwide is continually one of the highest rated programmes in the country: “It’s a brand, I don’t even like using that word but the programme is bigger than any of us. It’s so well known and so well established. Its over 20 years [old], we had 21 years last year, its great to be part of it.”

It’s clear that Anne is also very proud of her father: “I think the main thing I would take from this is that its so inspirational for somebody who was almost 90 to be working, functioning. 

“It’s an inspiration to people that there is no such thing as retirement when it comes to the creative arts and that ‘It’s showbiz, darling! And they still want me even though I’m 89!’”

However you’ll never hear Barry tell anyone to ‘Break a Leg’ anytime soon: “I never said 'Break a Leg', I said 'Good Luck'.

“All my ancient, and not so ancient contemporaries, said 'Good Luck' to one another. Do you know what 'Break a Leg' means?

"There are drapes along the side of the stage, one above the other and if the curtain come back and forth [because] you get so much applause for curtain calls, so often and so hard that it breaks a leg. It’s an Americanism, I’m sure.”

If anyone knows their drama history, it is surely this great thespian.

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