Sunday with Ardal O’Hanlon: ‘I often don’t get out of my tennis gear’

The comedian talks about his love of crosswords, newspapers, vegetables and Better Call Saul

What time are you up? I’m in no hurry to get out of bed. I suppose I wake up around half past eight. I read the Guardian and the FT online, start the Everyman crossword, then surface at about 10.

Favourite Sunday activity? I do love the tennis… Myself and my wife, we play mixed doubles at the weekend, which is a great pleasure.

Sunday grub? We kind of pick during the morning. If any of our children are at home – I’ve got three, aged 24, 22, and 20, so they’re not always around any more – we tend to have Sunday dinner. My wife would be concerned that they haven’t been eating enough vegetables, so there’ll be about 40 different vegetables and a big hunk of roast meat. My wife does most of the cooking. I do stuff with vegetables.

Sunday afternoons… Tend to be very lazy. It’d be a rare Sunday afternoon that we’d go on an excursion or anything. When the kids were smaller, we would have, but not so much now.

Sunday scrubs or Sunday best? Sometimes I don’t get out of my tennis gear, so I’m kind of flopping around in shorts and some sort of sports shirt. By the time you’ve walked the dogs and played the tennis, what’s the point?

Sundays growing up? We were a conventionally religious family. We would have gone to mass at 11, and had an ice-cream on the way home. My father would have bought a mountain of newspapers – all the Irish newspapers, all the British newspapers – and we’d go through them all systematically. There was very little chat.

Sunday evenings? I suppose as the evening goes on, we do what most families do: sit around and watch a bit of TV, watch a bit of Netflix, stick on a movie. Better Call Saul is probably my favourite at the moment.

How do you relax? I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to crosswords, but if I do have a spare moment and if I’m looking for some sort of escapism, to get my mind off things… I think crosswords are good for your brain. I’m not for a moment claiming success at the crosswords. But I think the process is good. You can actually feel your brain pulsing.

Brouhaha by Ardal O’Hanlon is published by HarperCollins at £16.99. Buy a copy for £14.78 from

Roz Lewis

The GuardianTramp

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