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Daily reveals how lonely 74-year-old became overnight Christmas sensation

Reporters at a city daily have told the story of how a local man with an interest in amateur dramatics became an internet Christmas sensation.

The Belfast Telegraph produced a special report on how 74-year-old Martin McManus ‘went viral’ after his video warmed the hearts of thousands.

It all started when the Rosslea resident, a member of the Knock Drama Group, was asked to take part in a promotional Christmas advert for his local pub, Charlie’s Bar.

Focusing on the themes of isolation and companionship, the two-minute ad – which cost £700 to make – begins with an elderly man standing alone at a graveside, before being shunned as he strolls along the streets of Enniskillen.

The stars of the Charlie's Bar Christmas ad spoke to the Belfast Telegraph this week.

The stars of the Charlie’s Bar Christmas ad spoke to the Belfast Telegraph this week.

The character is finally befriended by a couple and their dog as he sips a pint of Guinness beside the pub’s open fire.

The video received more than 912,500 views and over 94,500 likes on TikTok alone and even caught the eye of festive advert big guns, John Lewis, who posted the message ‘We’re not crying, you are’ on the company’s TikTok account.

Having spotted the ad’s popularity, reporter Liam Tunney pulled together a web piece collating some of the social media reactions, while his colleague Brett Campbell went down to meet the stars of the show.

Mr McManus told the paper: “I do feel lonely at times but not today. I can’t believe the response, it caught me completely unawares.”

The Telegraph’s Viewpoint column praised the ad for its poignant message.

“In the midst of Christmas adverts all cashing in on the material side of the season, it was up to Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen to revisit what Christmas should really be about. Care, friendship and being there for each other,” it read.

“There’s many a high street store could do worse than take a look and, next year, perhaps remember that it’s people who matter at this time of the year.

“We should all thank the owners at Charlie’s Bar for reminding us what true Christmas spirit should be all about.”

How the Belfast Telegraph reported on the 'viral' Charlie's Bar video.

How the Belfast Telegraph reported on the ‘viral’ Charlie’s Bar video.