‘It was so surreal’: Meet the Fareham man who featured on The Graham Norton Show at the weekend

Damien O'Dowda and his sister Ailis O'Dowda-Dall
Damien O'Dowda and his sister Ailis O'Dowda-Dall

WITH hundreds of audience members laughing out loud, as well as thousands of viewers sitting at home, Damien O’Dowda says that his time on The Graham Norton Show won’t be one he forgets in a hurry.

The 33-year-old appeared on the BBC One TV show last weekend, sharing a screen with stars such as Michael Caine and Sally Field.

TV host Graham Norton. Picture: Christoper Baines

TV host Graham Norton. Picture: Christoper Baines

On the show, Damien told the story of an unfortunate incident from an Irish dancing competition he did when he was around 10 years old – where a wardrobe malfunction made him the centre of attention.

Damien said: ‘My sister, Ailis, got tickets for us, plus her friend Gemma and her husband, Will.

‘A letter was sent round at the start of the week asking people to send in stories – I thought about what happened to me during that competition and sent it in, but thought no more of it.

‘I then found out on the day that they wanted me in the red chair, so I guess they found the story pretty funny.’

Damien then spent the day with the BBC crew preparing for his big moment – and even spent some time mingling with the stars of the show.

‘I looked behind me and suddenly Michael Caine was there saying hello’ said Damien: ‘It was so bizarre.

‘Then Chris Pine walked past and it dawned on me that I was part of the same show as these huge celebrities – Michael Caine was an absolute gem though and it was a real honour meeting them all.’

On camera, Damien might have looked confident – but that certainly wasn’t how he was feeling inside.

He explained: ‘All I could think about was how anxious I was to be sitting in the chair.

‘I wasn’t concerned about telling the story – everyone I know already knows it, but I was definitely nervous about having to tell it in front of the camera.

‘You don’t sit in front of the audience, but you’re all too aware that they are watching, and so are thousands of people at home.’

But despite telling a story that had the audience in hysterics, Damien couldn’t escape Graham’s chair flip, tumbling backwards as the lever was pulled.

He said: ‘They were going to let me go – even though I kind of wanted to be tipped over – and the producer was even motioning for me to get up.

‘It was as I did so that I found myself going head over heels.

‘It was an exhilarating experience and I absolutely loved it – easily the best couple of days I have had in a very long time.’