Funnyman turned Radio & Television presenter PJ Gallagher talks to Build & Renovate

"I would find it easier to work out how to do an entire magic show than to put up a shelf!"

Story Highlights
  • “It’s like magic to me.”
  • “I would love to continue doing radio.”
  • “The show is being very well received and I’m delighted with it.”
  • “I’m coming out of this pandemic less healthy than I went in but I’m not going to worry about it.”

Hosted by PJ Gallagher, The Big DIY Challenge showcases DIY-ers from all over Ireland who simultaneously take on DIY projects. From whole room renovations to outdoor construction projects, the show’s DIY-ers test their mettle for the chance to win the grand prize of €10,000. The competition is fierce but only one can be crowned Ireland’s best DIY-er. The show is a nationwide competition and all projects are completed over 10 days.

Providing tips and advice (and a critical eye on the projects!) are TU Dublin Lecturer in Construction, Jennifer Byrne and Ronseal’s decking dynamo and all round DIY hero Jimmy Englezos. The judges have the tough decision of choosing a winner and awarding the cash prize as well as additional prizes for best small project, best inside project, best outdoor project and best upcycling project.

“I’m the worst when it comes to DIY, I couldn’t put up a shelf or fix anything! I used to think I good with electrics because I could change the flex out of a hoover and a friend of mine once asked me to put an extra socket into his garage but whatever I did, everytime you turned off the light in the kitchen, the entire garage died as well so it just shows you that I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing,” revealed a laughing PJ Gallagher.

“There is no point in me lying and saying I’m great at DIY because I would have been caught out. I’m two seasons deep in this show and people are asking questions as to why I don’t help out with the projects and the answer is I don’t help because I can’t help! The show is being very well received and I’m delighted with it.
“I’m fascinated by how the contestants are able to do DIY! It’s like magic to me. I would find it easier to work out how to do an entire magic show than to put up a shelf,” enthused Mr Gallagher.

Mr Gallagher currently co-hosts Radio Nova’s ‘Morning Glory,’ show with Jim McCabe. He can also be seen in the massively successful television series The Young Offenders on RTÉ and BBC as Principal Walsh; how has PJ found the last 15 months?

“It’s been absolute shite and there is no other way of saying it. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I have worked constantly through the pandemic and that has saved me and my sanity.

“I have counted my lucky stars in that I have the radio show to keep me busy but things are starting to get busy again now so it’s going from one extreme to the other. I honestly don’t know how busy I want to get again and the answer is probably no as there is some kind of middle ground that I’m trying to find.

“I miss going to football matches so much, I really miss going to Hill 16 and that is the thing I miss the absolute most,” he added.

“I think a lot of people much like myself won’t want to go back to the full on pre-pandemic life. Who can imagine what this world will look like in another 12 months? We just have to hope it’s going to be better than it is now. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves, stop worrying about the extra few pounds we have put on, the few extra chocolate bars and drinks we have been having, we all need to take it one day at a time. I’m coming out of this pandemic less healthy than I went in but I’m not going to worry about it.

“I’m just going to say f**k it, enjoy the sunshine and live my life!”
He is widely known for the huge success of many characters in the hilarious and sometimes outrageous hit TV show Naked Camera, alongside his DVD of the same name which received triple platinum sales.

With countless television appearances, he has become one of Ireland’s most recognised Comedians. A regular at Vicar Street and at the Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny and Electric Picnic, his most recent tours Concussion and Separated at Birth with Joanne McNally have received critical acclaim and played to sell out audiences.

PJ is a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting and performed in the 2016 Dublin Theatre Festival in Alien Documentary directed by Una McKevitt. They worked together on Madhouse which premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2018.

As to what the future holds for PJ Gallagher?

“I don’t really want to go back to stand up again if I’m being honest but I probably will have to. I’m really, really happy doing radio and working with Jim (McCabe). I’ve done stand up for more than 20 years and to be honest this is the way I want to see my career out; I want to get up in the morning and tell people that it is okay to go to work and get out of bed whilst working as part of a team (on radio) rather than flying solo doing stand up,” imparted a reflective PJ.

“I would love to continue doing radio and do the odd acting job here and there more as a hobby than anything else. There is no doubt about it, bills have to be paid so I will have to write a show again at some point but I want to delay it for as long as possible! Stand up is the best paying job that I have but I don’t think that that is important any more.

“I’ve been working in radio for six and a half years now, we have just moved to Radio Nova and the show feels like a really great fit, we’re enjoying the buzz and Jim and I are great mates,” he added.
“I feel very thankful for everything I have done and for how they have worked out so you keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. I would love it if there was a spin off to ‘The Young Offenders,’ called ‘The Repeat Offenders,’ or something like that so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that!

I’m also unashamedly hopeful for seven (All Ireland titles) in a row for Dublin; to hell with the rest of the country when it comes to the football, all I want is for the Dubs to win 10 in a row, then I want 15 in a row, followed by 20 in a row and I’ll never be apologetic about that! It’s going to be a very, very emotional day when we get back into Croke Park for a match, concluded PJ Gallagher.

*The Big DIY Challenge airs on Thursday @ 20.30pm on RTÉ One.
Words: Emer KellyImages: RTÉ Press Office

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