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Movies & TV

20th Jan 2024

“What can you do… Jesus Christ” – Jamie Dornan opens up on double tragedy not everyone was aware of

Patrick McCarry

Jamie Dornan

“Severe grief and shock… it was the worst year of my life.”

Back in 2021, Jamie Dornan was in Australia for a new BBC show called The Tourist, and had recently wrapped Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Professionally, he was in a great place.

The Co. Down actor admits, though, that it was the worst year of his life. His father, Jim, had raised him alone from the age of 16, after his mother, Lorna, died of pancreatic cancer. A man that was ‘known to everyone in Belfast’, Jim Dornan passed away due to complications arising from Covid-19.

Dornan learned of the news when he was still Down Under and, due to strict Covid restrictions in the country, at the time, he was denied compassionate leave to return home for the funeral.

“It was unimaginably difficult. We were in hotel quarantine. I was in a hotel room with my wife, three kids and a nanny. We still had like three and a half days of quarantine left so I wasn’t allowed to leave; there was no compassionate grounds.”

Branagh would later dedicate his film to Jim Dornan, at the premiere, and there was barely a dry eye in the house.

While many of Dornan’s followers, and fans, may have been aware of his father’s passing, he opened up to Patrick Kielty on The Late Late Show about a double tragedy that rocked his life when he was just a teenager. Many viewers were stunned at his recollections, and how bravely he spoke about being affected by loss and grief.

Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan on shocking double tragedy

Jamie Dornan was just 16 when his mother, Lorna died from pancreatic cancer. Just 13 months later, four of his friends all died in a car crash.

Composing himself after briefly choking up, Dornan said, “Well, what can you do, when something like that happens? Jesus Christ.

“I always felt like I’d had my share of grief and heartache, and loss, in a 13-month period. I think that made me resilient for a lot of other stuff, maybe, that has come my way. A lot of people say that about me – I’m pretty good at not getting hung up on small things. I’m like, ‘Right, that’s fine’. Because I had dealt with that when I was, really, too young to deal with something like that.”

Patrick Kielty, who lost his father at just 16, too, was perfectly placed to emphatise with the actor, who was on to promote season two of the successful Tourist series.

Among those moments of reflection, and remembrance, Kielty and Dornan did have some lighter moments. To date, it was one of his strongest interviews since taking over from Ryan Tubridy as host.

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