Young Offenders cast shares insights on fame, best moments, and the exciting season four


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It’s been eight years since The Young Offenders first appeared on our screens. This comedy series, set in Cork, is gearing up for its fourth season on BBC One. Peter Foott, actress Hilary Rose’s creator and husband, first introduced us to this hilarious crew in a 2016 film. By 2018, it had been converted into a beloved sitcom that was watched not just in Ireland but worldwide.

Before releasing season four, key members of the cast—including Alex Murphy (Conor MacSweeney), Dominic McHale (Sergeant Healy), Hilary Rose (Mairéad MacSweeney), Jennifer Barry (Siobhán Walsh), and Shane Casey (Billy Murphy)—reunited to share some of their fondest moments from the set and discuss the show’s popularity.

Your favourite characters, including Conor, Jock, Mairead, Sergeant Healy, Billy Murphy, Siobhan, and Linda Walsh, are returning to BBC One on Friday, May 10, at 9:30 pm.

Reflections and memories

Dominic shared his initial excitement about the script for The Young Offenders, recalling his improv sessions with show creator Peter Foott to better understand his character. Despite their differing backgrounds, Dominic expressed the challenge of persuading Peter of his fit for the role.

Recollections of the audition process included Alex creating a five-minute introduction video to demonstrate his improvisation skills and his memorable first meeting with co-star Chris Walley. Alex discussed beginning his first film project without a full script, describing it as an exciting yet uncertain educational experience.

Notable memories from Chris and Alex’s early days on set included an improv session in Ballincollig’s small GAA hall, which left Dominic surprisingly unsettled. Shane reminisced about his humorous improvisation during the first season at the old Marymount, leading to a playful exchange about the contents of a prop bottle.

Alex and Hilary reflect on Jennifer’s addition to the cast by reflecting on the infusion of comedy throughout the show.

Despite auditioning without much expectation, Jennifer was delighted to learn she had landed the role of Siobhán in a surprising reveal orchestrated by Peter and the casting director. Alex recollects the beginning days of filming at Penrose Wharf, dubbing it his first real film experience. He found the premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh unrealistically incredible.

Hilary opens up about balancing work and family, acknowledging how simple it is to lose sight of their achievements. She underlines the uncommonness of their success originating from Cork.

Reflecting back, Shane expresses regret for missing the movie’s screening in Cork while he was in Dublin. The joy of everyone coming together for the event still resonates with him. Jennifer, on the other hand, fondly recalls the wisdom imparted by Peter and Demi Isaac Oviawe, explaining how the industry has the potential to change people.

Jennifer talks about the unexpected pressure of handling several jobs at just 16. Despite the difficulty, she enjoyed leading a typical life on College Road. On the other hand, Hilary discusses her struggles with combining acting and motherhood.

Global fan encounters

Speaking of a surprising encounter, Hilary recounted bumping into a fervent fan all the way in Brighton, thus demonstrating the global popularity of ‘The Young Offenders.’ Jennifer chimed in, noting the stark contrast between the exuberant fans overseas and the rather subdued response back home in their native Cork.

Alex appreciated the variety in their audience’s age, from kids to older people. He highlighted how the show amuses all ages without overstepping boundaries. Dominic fondly remembered mothers having their kids repeat famous lines for fun, particularly the daring “F**k you Healy” phrase.

Shane shared a funny story about being chased by fans in a waterpark in Tenerife. His intense love for waterparks led to friendly teasing from his fellow cast members. This was especially true after he poked fun at a possible waterpark-themed proposal. Eventually, Shane mentioned a humorous incident related to lost engagement rings and a photo souvenir.

Reflecting on growth and unity

Reflecting on the early days of filming, Murphy revealed he was only 17 when the filming for the movie began nearly a decade ago. Today, he’s a seasoned actor, mature beyond his 26 years. Hilary Rose, on the other hand, was pregnant with her son Jake during the same period – a vibrant little boy who will be turning nine this November.

Shane stated that The Young Offenders has given him more than just a career. Thanks to the show, he’s made many friends, bought a house, and started a family. He feels deeply grateful to his co-stars, Hilary and Peter.

Jennifer reflected on how much the show has been part of their adult lives. Alex agreed, calling it a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Despite the challenges and breaks, they all eagerly anticipate the new season.

Shane mentioned how grateful they all felt for the kindness they received when filming in their home city. Highlights included getting permission to film in people’s homes and gardens and access to residential estates.

Hilary noted the parallel between the show’s lifespan and her own family’s growth and appreciated the support she received from the cast during this time. Alex highlighted the unity within the cast, attributing it to the lack of ego. Jennifer joined in expressing appreciation for the supportive and ego-less environment, agreeing they are lucky.

Character evolution

There’s a significant shift in Conor’s arc this season, as described by Alex. Following a three-year time jump, Conor hilariously grapples with the demands of reintegration and model citizenship.

Dominic promises a sound understanding of Sgt Healy’s background this season. The actor found portraying the character’s complexities a rewarding experience.

Expressing that this season is love-infused, Shane cites that despite the thematic intensities, his character Billy’s comic reluctance towards adulthood remains intact.

Hilary hinted at the existence of emotional sequences to level the narrative scales, giving way to poignant character development and redemption. Particularly, Hilary relishes exhibiting a character’s growth over time, seeing it not just as a pleasure but also an honour for her as an actress.

Jennifer conveyed that each character is assigned a defining moment in the series, rendering a multifaceted narrative for the show. Anticipating a hilarious new season, Jennifer suggested it could be the funniest yet. Hilary seconded her, labelling it the best to date.

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