Dave Allen at Peace is a new hour-long drama for the Catholic comedian, born David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan O’Mahony, who I first came across when he was well into his hey-day.
Just as he started his BBC2 show, and his relationship with the BBC, the then-BBC Director General, Charles Curran (Robert Bathurst), told him, “The BBC will always defend you, Dave, as long as you keep them laughing.” However, like any person in the entertainment business, if you’re not entertaining them and not getting the ratings, showbiz will drop you like a hot potato.
The drama shows him losing the top of his finger as a child, in 1941; and as a young, 18-year-old in 1955, going on stage for the first time at Butlins, where he’s portrayed by Sing Street‘s Ferdia Walsh-Peelo. These are all interspersed with Aiden Gillen performing Allen’s monologues in his famous chair, as well as some of his sketches. However, Gillen neither looks or sounds anything like Dave Allen, and that caused a massive disconnect for me with this programme.
In fact, it rather canters through his life as it’s only an hour. Hence, as it doesn’t go into much detail about him, it made me wonder what was the point of this, especially when it came to recreating old sketches, making he think I’d rather watch the real man…
…And that’s exactly what we got next with a repeat of the 2013 documentary, Dave Allen: God’s Own Comedian, which followed straight afterwards.
Dave Allen at Peace is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on April 30th. After broadcast, you can watch it on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission, same as you can with Dave Allen: God’s Own Comedian.
Also available is The Best Of Dave Allen on DVD, originally released shortly after his death in 2005.
Director: Andy De Emmony
Producer: Brett Wilson
Writer: Stephen Russell
Music: Nick Green
Dave Allen: Aidan Gillen
Priest: Ian McElhinney
Richard Stone: Julian Rhind-Tutt
John O’Mahony: Conleth Hill
Dave aged 18: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
Charles Curran: Robert Bathurst
Sister Mary: Pauline McLynn
Sketch Artist: Miranda Hennessy
Cully Tynan O’Mahony: Tommy Tiernan
Jean O’Mahony: Joanne Crawford
Lew Grade: Simon Day
John O’Mahony aged 7: Sam Hardy
Producer: Patrick FitzSymons
Kenny: Daniel Kendrick
Dave aged 12: Ely Solan
Sketch Artist: David Seymour
John aged 20: Gareth O’Connor
Dave Allen Age 5: Senan Jennings
John aged 14: Sean Treacy
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.