In front of an audience of family and friends Fred O’Donovan tells Liam Ó Murchú about his multi-faceted, colourful career, which includes directing the Irish writer Brendan Behan in the short film ‘Meet the Quare Fella’.
O’Donovan recalls how the interview with Brendan Behan, to be conducted by broadcaster Eamonn Andrews, was to be the first in a series of interviews with famous personalities from around the world.
Unfortunately we picked Brendan as the first one, or fortunately as the case may be.
As filming was to take place at 8am in Ardmore studios, in a bid to keep Behan sober, O’Donovan booked the crew into the Royal Hotel in Bray the night before. He was delighted when Brendan retired to bed at 2am. At 4am however, he was woken by a tremendous noise in the hotel and he heard the unmistakable voice of Brendan singing. When he went downstairs to investigate, he discovered Brendan at large in the hotel bar.
He had the bar open and the porter and himself were flutered.
They began filming the ‘Meet the Quare Fella’ four hours later.
Fred O'Donovan served in the British Royal Air Force from 1944-1949 and returned to Ireland in 1953 to produce radio shows. In 1954 he formed a company to produced commercial and sponsored radio programmes. He also worked in theatre stage direction and management and was artistic director of the Gaiety Theatre. He was the first Chairman of the Board of the National Concert Hall and was Chairman of the RTÉ Authority from 1981 - 1985.
This episode of ‘Lifelines’ was broadcast on 18 February 1996.