He’s the man that taught James Bond - Daniel Craig, to jive - and he’s got strong links to the North Coast!
Celebrity choreographer Jack Murphy fronted the BBC2 show ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ last week, and he was inspired to present the show by his parents, who met at the Palais de Dance in Portstewart.
In a interview with The Coleraine Times this week, Jack reveals his Portstewart connection, and his pride in his Irish roots.
The London based movement director is simply bursting with admiration for our wonderful area.
In the two part BBC show saw Jack took dozens of dancers back to Bolton’s former Palais de Danse in a bid to inspire the next generation to dance!
The final part aired last Thursday night and there’s been a wonderful reaction to the programme.
Jack met some real characters during filming and inspired those who had never danced before to get onto the dance floor - many of them have continued to learn.
If you missed it, you can watch via the BBC’s iPlayer.
“When the BBC rang me about the show and asked me if I wanted to be on board, I couldn’t turn it down,” told Jack.
“Programmes like ‘Strictly’ means that the British public have fallen in love with ballroom dancing again, now all we have to do is get them off the sofa and into the arms of each other. In order to do that they need the space in which to dance,” he joked.
“The fact that my parents met at the Palais de Dance in Portstewart, back in 1953, was the stimulus for me taking part in the programme. I am usually the one behind the camera. This was my first presenting role - I was just myself and I think that came across the show.
“I really enjoyed it, so we will see what happens next.”
Jack’s father, who passed away back in 1981, was from County Clare, and was in the RAF.
Based at Ballykelly, Jack explained that his father was the ‘Social Events Organiser’ in the Force, and had met his mother in Portstewart.
“My dad, Tim, actually walked three girls home to Portstewart’s Lever Road after the dances.
“My mother, Ruby, lived the furthest along the Lever Road, and it was during one of these walks that they fell in love - it’s such a romantic story.
“The fact that my father, a Catholic man from West of Ireland, was in the RAF, and was posted to Northern Ireland makes it even more special,” told Jack, who lives in Chelsea.
Jack, who was Movement director for the hit British film ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ back in 2004, has fond memories of returning to the Northern Ireland as a child.
His grandfather Jim Adair, was well known in Portstewart. He was a dust man and was also a fireman.
“My brother has served in the London fire service for over 30 years. Our time in Northern Ireland as children I guess has inspired us all,” told Jack.
“My grandmother, who was also called Ruby, worked in the very plush Carrick Hotel in the town.
“She was the head silver service waitress, she was a truly amazing woman.”
Jack and his mother have just returned to London after spending Christmas in Portstewart.
“No matter where I am in the world, I love getting back to Portstewart.
“I am in Portstewart at least four times a year - I just love it.
“We fly in to City of Derry airport and take the road via Benone - it’s really is God’s own country,” said Jack who has also worked with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.
“If it wasn’t for my job I would move to Portstewart in the blink of any eye.
“I would love to live there.
“We were there from the 23rd of December to January 1, and I walked to the Bar Mouth and back every day. My mum and I got our pictures taken at the site of the old dance hall in Portstewart, it doesn’t look like much now, but it holds good memories for Mum.
“I mentioned Portstewart and my connection in a few other press interviews and I see a lot of reaction on twitter,” joked Jack, who pointed out that he was actually crowned the Northern Ireland skateboarding champion in Portrush as a teenager - a talented man, who we can now adopt as one of our own!