Toronto — Allan Hawco, the affable star of “Republic of Doyle,” is hitting the road to meet his dedicated fans in person.
In appreciation of a loyal viewership that has made his Newfoundland-set series one of the CBC’s biggest hits, Hawco hoisted a pint with Facebook friends at a Toronto bar Monday and said he plans to do the same in cities across the country.
“The people that are following the show are everything,” Hawco said before meeting 50 fans at an Irish pub.
“I come from the theatre, I know how hard it is to get an audience
.... I’m so grateful when people are behind something.”
The select fans won an online contest to mingle with Hawco, get an autograph and be the first in the country to watch the Season 2 premiere, airing Wednesday.
Enthusiastic viewers including Maggie Dolan and Beverley MacLean hooted and cheered as Hawco took questions from a small stage and thanked them for their loyalty.
Digital cameras in hand, the women stood up to get a better shot of the Newfoundland heartthrob, who plays womanizing private investigator Jake Doyle.
“As soon as I saw one episode I was hooked for life,” said MacLean, referring to herself as the biggest “Republic of Doyle” fan.
“Allan is awesome. I love you!” she said, suddenly directing her attention to Hawco as he wandered from table to table.
MacLean was one of 25 fans to score an invitation through an online contest advertised on Facebook. It allowed her to bring one friend.
“I was fast. I was waiting for it,” said MacLean.
“I had to email and I was shaking and trying to get the right address. I got it, all right.”
Events planned across Canada
Similar fan events are planned for Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. An event in St. John’s was held last month.
Details are set to be posted on the “Republic of Doyle” website later this week.
Hawco, 33, says he keeps tabs on fans through the Internet as much as possible, and even responds to fan queries.
“I answer as much as I can. I try to read it, anyway, as much as I can,” says Hawco, who also writes and produces the dramedy.
“Someone emailed me the other day and asked me to go to their university graduation and that was a nice thing for them to ask me to do. I couldn’t do it because that kind of stuff has to be scheduled.”
But would Hawco actually consider going?
“If there was more time,” he says.
“Time is a commodity right now for me and you really have to focus your energy as much as possible, wherever you can to keep your sanity.”
“You can’t email everybody. .... We have a big fan base of people who email me directly, you know.”
Hence the cross-Canada tour.
“They’re passionate fans and I share their passion for the show, too,” he says.
“People will talk about the show as a Newfoundland show, but I truly feel it’s our show. It’s a Canadian show and then I think that part of the reason we’ve been able to sell it abroad is because of that open door policy to them, as well, to come in and be a part of this family and be a part of this show and be a part of the community.”
Hawco is tight-lipped about what to expect in the new season, but it will include the introduction of an intriguing new Crown attorney played by Michelle Nolden (“Numb3rs”), the return of an old foe (played by Gorden Pinsent) and guest stars Don McKellar and Alan Doyle.
Hawco refuses to let slip anything about the fate of Jake’s gumshoe father, Malachy Doyle (played by Sean McGinley), who had a health scare in last season’s cliffhanger.
“I promise after Episode 1 is complete, you will know what’s happening with Jake Doyle and dealing with his father Malachy Doyle,” he says.
“Republic of Doyle” returns to CBC-TV tonight.