Jamie Dornan shares heartbreak of being trapped in Australian quarantine while dad was dying in Belfast

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 13: Jamie Dornan attends the 11th Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards at Avalon Hollywood & Bardot on November 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/FilmMagic)
Jamie Dornan lost his father in 2021. (JC Olivera/FilmMagic)

Jamie Dornan has opened up on the "worst and hardest" year of his life - losing his father to COVID while he was stuck on the other side of the world in Australian quarantine.

In March 2021, Dornan was isolating after arriving in Australia to film current BBC One hit thriller The Tourist, but with just four days to go in quarantine he received the devastating news that his father had died in Belfast.

Read more: Jamie Dornan says there were no easy moments in making The Tourist

The Fall star told The Sun: "It’s been a brutal time for lots of reasons and for lots of people. We’re all just trying to ride it out and come out the other side — and hope we’ve got our heads intact."

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 30/11/2021 - Programme Name: The Tourist - TX: n/a - Episode: Early Release (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  The Man (JAMIE DORNAN) - (C) Two Brothers Pictures - Photographer: Ian Routledge
Jamie Dornan was isolating ahead of filming 'The Tourist'. (Two Brothers Pictures/Ian Routledge)

Dornan's father Jim, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, had gone into hospital for a routine knee operation but contracted COVID, with the actor unable to get back to Belfast to be with his family because of travel restrictions.

He called 2021 “the worst year . . . and the hardest” of his life and also remembered how his father had supported him through his mother's death from cancer when he was just 16, telling him not to let it be "the thing that defines you".

Dornan said: "I’ve been subjected, early on in my life and now, to a lot of pain and loss."

Dr Jim Dornan speaks at the Pancreatic Cancer charity NIPanC launch at the Mater Hospital in Belfast. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
The actor's father Jim Dornan was a renowned obstetrician. (Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)

The actor stars in Sir Kenneth Branagh's forthcoming film Belfast, where he plays a character based on Branagh's own father and his experiences during The Troubles in their home city.

Read more: Jamie Dornan says negative 50 Shades reviews drove him on

He explained his family's link to the director, telling how his father Jim had a photo in his house of himself with Branagh when the star had come to open a maternity wing at the hospital where he worked and Dornan remembered thinking it was "a big thing" as a boy.

Belfast is released in cinemas on 21 January and The Tourist continues on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday.

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