AS AN actor, drama comes naturally to Gary Hollywood.

He would just prefer it to stay on-screen, rather than tumble into his offstage life.

The Pollok-born star, who plays hairdresser Dino Doyle in the multi-awardwinning comedy Mrs Brown’s Boys, laughs lightly.

“It’s true, drama seems to follow me everywhere I go,” he jokes.

Cheerful and chatty as always, only a slight strain to his voice gives him away. The last few months, coping with the death of his beloved brother, an anxious wait in hospital when his baby son arrived four weeks early, and being unable to return home to Lanzarote because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, have been pretty horrible.

“It has been difficult,” he admits, “but what has kept me going, what has kept the whole family going, is little Ollie.

“We are still grieving, slowly trying to come to terms with losing Gerard, but being able to focus on our wee boy has been a godsend.”

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Gary’s brother Gerard, who was from Neilston, died in May, after suffering two heart attacks.

“He had been in hospital, with COVID symptoms, but had been given the all clear and he did not have the virus,” says Gary. “It was a huge shock when he died.

“Gerard was next to me in age – I’m 40, he was 50, and my other brothers Stephen and John are older. He was a lovely man, who will really be missed. There was a big turn out for the funeral, but it was really strange because we all had to socially distance.

“You just want to hug each other, but you can’t.”

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Gary’s big break came at the age of 12, when he starred in Glasgow cop drama Taggart.

“The Glasgow Evening Times was the very first newspaper to feature me,” he laughs. “It was my first ever interview.”

He went on to star in Take The High Road, appearing as Dominic Dunbar for seven years in the Luss-set soap, and appeared in films such as The Winter Guest alongside Oscar winner Emma Thompson and The Flying Scotsman with Jonny Lee Miller and Brian Cox

After meeting Irish actor Brendan O’Carroll at the Pavilion, he landed a part in O’Carroll’s show all about an Irish mammy and her hearts-of-gold family.

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“I feel very fortunate to have been on the show for 20 years and to have been working constantly as an actor for all that time,” he says.

“It’s such a lot of fun doing the show. “

Gary, who has three sons from previous relationships, married dental nurse Cherylanne last year, after inviting 300 guests to what he told them was a surprise party for her 30th birthday.

The couple came back to Scotland from their Spanish home in March, to stay with Gary’s parents Betty and John.

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“I moved to Lanzarote six years ago – I had actually gone on holiday and I absolutely fell in love with the place,” he says.

“The plan was always to come back to have the baby, but like I said, drama follows me and Ollie decided to a month early.”

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He adds, with a laugh: “I think he just wanted to get here before everything kicked off. Or maybe he is just really nosey, like his dad.”

Oliver Michael Hollywood arrived on March 12, four weeks premature, and weighing just 5lbs 13oz.

His parents faced an anxious wait as he battled jaundice and doctors tried to get his body temperature to the correct level.

“It was a scary time,” says Gary. “The NHS staff were absolutely amazing. It was fantastic to finally get him home. He’s coming on in leaps and bounds now.

“We were planning to get his final check-ups and jabs and head home – and then of course, everything came to a complete stop.”

There were huge positives to staying in Scotland, says Gary.

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“Ollie has had a great time getting to know his grandparents and they have loved it,” he smiles. “I think it has helped them too, as they grieved for my brother. Having Ollie around has made everyone smile.”

Three weeks ago, as lockdown restrictions eased further, Gary and Cherylanne booked flights home, looking forward to finally getting home with their baby son.

There was one last twist in the tale, however.

“Ollie’s passport did not arrive and we could not get hold of anyone at the delivery company to explain what had happened to it,” says Gary.

“I spent hours on the phone, trying to track it down. Finally, it arrived, and we can get home.”

He adds: “We can’t wait to get our baby home.”