THE stars of BBC Three comedy The Young Offenders say they actually LIKE their distinctive haircuts - and so do the ladies!
Chris Walley and Alex Murphy play bike-stealing scallies Jock and Conor in the Cork-based series and admit they are easy to spot with their half-shaved heads and train-track eyebrows.
And as the show has become a huge hit - fans have made a massive 25 million requests to watch the comedy on BBC iPlayer - so has the best friends’ look.
Chris told The Sun Online: “I genuinely like it now. I’m convinced I look better than normal and I’ve grown quite fond of it. Over here in Cork that haircut is called the scut cut and it’s very popular.
“We change our styles when we’re not filming but whenever we have a tight haircut it goes mad, especially around Cork.
"You can’t think of a more madly identifiable hairstyle and our silhouettes: I’m tall and thin and Alex is small so we’re very distinctive. And we’re best pals and we hang out all the time so we get spotted a lot.”
Alex added: “It’s a low maintenance haircut so it’s quite handy from that point of view, but also when we get the haircuts that’s when we go, okay we’re in character now, we’re ready to go. It helps you get into it.”
The boys also say they have been playing around with their hairstyles during lockdown, with Chris revealing: “Alex bleached his hair blond at the start of all of this and then he dared me to do it, so then I went blond, then I got sick of it and shaved it and was bald all over, so we’ve gone through a few phrases! It passes the time.
“When I’m in London after filming I go the other way and end up looking like a hipster, I probably look like I’m trying to do something really edgy.”
Alex was still at school when he was first cast in The Young Offenders, which started life as a feature film in 2016 before being made into a TV series a year later.
He was only allowed to film from Thursday to Sunday and says his teachers were taken aback when he turned up to school with a scut cut.
He laughed: "My teachers thought I was having some sort of crisis!”
The popularity of the film led to a TV series, initially on RTE2 then BBC Three. The cast - including Conor’s single mum Mairead, played by Hilary Rose - found themselves being recognised straight away in Ireland, then gradually were spotted more and more often internationally.
And the boys say they are chatted up by girls despite the not-so-cool look, with Alex revealing: "Me and Chris went to New York for a holiday. We were so excited, we thought we could just let loose because nobody knows us there.
Then the first night a load of screaming girls came up to us and we were like, what is going on?”
Not that it bothers them. In fact, Chris says he was so keen to be recognised initially, he ended up being a bit too over-enthusiastic with a fan.
He recalled: “I had never been recognised outside of Ireland and I was queuing for a club in London when a guy said, ‘Oh you look like that guy from that series - what’s it called?’ and I was like, ‘Young Offenders? Yeah it is me!’.
“He didn’t believe me at first but I loved being recognised so much, I was like, ‘It is me! I swear it is me!’. I went so overboard. I think he was like, ‘Okay man, chill out, you’re being a bit weird’.”
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Meanwhile Rose says her costumes as fishmonger Mairead are the cheapest she’s ever worn on a set.
She says, “The days we film in the fish market: it’s freezing cold and I’m in a very glamorous costume of wellies and a headband. The outfits are cheap anyway then they break them down to make them look absolutely horrendous. My costume designer said mine are the cheapest outfits she’s ever bought!”
She has also been recognised all over the world - most recently on holiday in the Caribbean with her husband Peter Foott, the writer, creator and director of Young Offenders.
She says, “It was always popular in Ireland and then season two really popped up in the UK. I’d be in London and I’d get Tweets saying, ‘I just saw you on the Underground’.
Then we went to Barbados in January and I got recognised there and I was like, ‘Okay, it’s travelled!’"
The Young Offenders will be available as a boxset on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer from Sunday 19 July, and will air on BBC One on Fridays at 9.30pm from 24 July.