Don’t ruin my Netflix series with awful Irish accents, says Marian Keyes

Don’t ruin my Netflix series with awful Irish accents, says Marian Keyes

The terrible Irish accent is as ubiquitous in film and TV as car chases and defective detectives – and Marian Keyes has had enough of it.

The bestselling Irish author’s 2020 novel Grown Ups – a comedy about how one woman’s concussion leads to an outpouring of long-repressed gripes and secrets – is being adapted into a Netflix TV series by the team behind Apple TV+’s acclaimed spy drama Slow Horses.

Speaking about the forthcoming adaptation at Hay Festival, Keyes, 60, said: “It would be so, so nice if they use people who can do Irish accents.” Decrying how awful so many Irish accents are in film and TV, she said: “I mean, the accents are just… I weep! I am corroded with pain!”

Keyes continued with delight: “If I really am executive producer [of Grown Ups] it means that I can choose.”

She jokingly added: “I’d also like a cameo. And my mother wants one as well. The [most realistic] place we could be would be a chemist. We both enjoy bad health. That’s what we want.”

Some of the most egregious Irish accents to grace the screen include in the Lindsay Lohan Netflix film Irish Wish, Emily Blunt-starrer Wild Mountain Thyme and the romcom PS I Love You.

Gerard Butler, the Scottish star of PS I Love You, has publicly apologised to Ireland for his accent in the film.

Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt in ‘Wild Mountain Time’ (Lionsgate)
Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt in ‘Wild Mountain Time’ (Lionsgate)

In the wide-ranging talk at Hay with presenter Kirsty Lang, Keyes also discussed her alcoholism, and a breakdown she had in 2009. She said: “The language around mental health is quite judgmental. It’s like we are all responsible for our own breakdowns, that’s the kind of the feeling that’s put out there.”

Asked if she knew what might have led to her breakdown, she said explained that it was “an illness”.

She speculated that one contributing factor could have been that “I’d just started the perimenopause and I had no idea at the time, because it wasn’t talked about so much 15 years ago. The minute the oestrogen goes out with the tide, because it’s such a calming hormone, women are suddenly finding themselves incredibly anxious, and nobody told us.”

Hay Festival runs from 23 May to 2 June in Hay-on-Wye;