Northern Ireland

Belfast series My Left Nut focuses on testicular cancer fears

Nathan Quinn O'Rawe, who picked up his A-Level results just last week, stars as Mick
Image caption Nathan Quinn O'Rawe, who picked up his A-Level results just last week, stars as Mick

A new BBC Three comedy drama set and filmed in Belfast has a fairly blunt - though accurate - title.

My Left Nut is based on the real-life experiences of a local teenager who found a swelling on his testicle when he was 15.

His dad had passed away and he struggled to tell his mum or his friends about his problem.

It's a role that would challenge an experienced actor, never mind a newcomer who has only just left school.

But it is a challenge Belfast teenager Nathan Quinn O'Rawe, who picked up his A-Level results just last week, has taken on.

The former De La Salle College pupil plays Mick, the schoolboy with the sensitive condition.

"He doesn't have his dad, who's usually the first person you go to if you have man problems," Nathan told BBC News NI.

"He's growing up with all of the issues of adolescent life as they are.

"This issue really throws another cog into the mix."

Image caption Mick's mum Patricia is played by the Irish actress Sinead Keenan

He added: "You're doing scenes that are very funny and very upbeat, and then you're straight into a scene that's not so upbeat, not so funny and a bit more serious.

"But it's a nice mix and a nice dynamic and a lovely story."

My Left Nut is based on the actual experience of Belfast man Michael Patrick, who wrote the three-part series with Oisín Kearney.

They had previously told Michael's story on stage in a well-received play with the same title.

The three-part TV series is being filmed in a number of locations across Belfast, including Ormeau Road, the city centre and the Strand cinema.

Nathan said it was extra special to film his first big role in his home city.

"It's been unbelievable," he said.

"I've done auditions in the past and I've never been successful to the point where I ever got a job in anything."

Image caption My Left Nut is based on the real-life experiences of a local teenager

He added: "I jumped at this as soon as I got the email.

"Acting has always been what I've wanted to do, but I had never foreseen anything like this actually happening."

His big break has, however, left him with a bit of a dilemma about his immediate future.

"I'm still going to go to university, but I'll maybe take a gap year, hopefully, if I get a request for a deferred entry sorted," he said.

"I'll be able to think about this a bit more because it is a big decision to be made."

'Light and dark'

Mick's mum, Patricia, is played by the Irish actress Sinead Keenan, who has previously starred in dramas Little Boy Blue and Being Human.

"We don't live our lives in one genre. There's light and there's dark," she told BBC News NI.

"There's a really nice balance in this script and that's what drew me to it.

"Some of the stuff with the young lads is hilarious, but then you also get the sensitivities of him dealing with this possibly life-changing thing."

She said that there was a serious message at the heart of the comedy.

"Hopefully if there is anyone, though obviously this is centred around boys, who does have a swelling or something, they'll speak to someone about it, go to a doctor about it.

"There is nothing to be embarrassed about."

Produced by Rollem and partially funded by Northern Ireland Screen, My Left Nut will be broadcast on BBC Three in the near future.

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