It’s been absolutely ages since I last visited the ‘Funny Friday’ series, and this week, I felt compelled to continue the series. To mark the death of Frank Kelly, who played Craggy Island’s eldest priest (and the one most afraid of nuns), Father Jack Hackett, the obvious choice for the latest instalment is ‘Father Ted’.
To many people, a comedy about three hapless priests and their housekeeper might not sound appealing, but I remember watching it at the beginning of it’s run on Channel 4 back in the mid-90’s and being instantly hooked. I’d never heard of Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly or Pauline McLynn, but now I can’t imagine what life would be like without them and their characters. Sometimes it wasn’t just the messes Ted got himself into, or Dougal’s vacant look, or Jack’s love of the drink, but the way they interacted with the populace outside of the parochial house – particularly Bishop Brennan.
The writers, Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews honed the character over many years, until, it seems, they found the perfect actor to bring Ted to life. Then they managed to create three series and a Christmas special during which the pace never dropped and the laughs never stopped. And like all good things, they knew when enough was enough, sadly this was ultimately taken out of their hands following the sudden and tragic death of Dermot Morgan after the completion of the third series. That was one of the rare times that a ‘celebrity’ death really hit me.
With the current state of television comedy, we are crying out for something even half as good as ‘Father Ted’, but all we seem to get is ‘comedy vehicles’ for the likes of Miranda, Josh Widdicombe and anything with Jack Whitehall in, not to mention the endless panel shows, rather than top-quality situation driven comedy that isn’t about the star.
And so, as Jack would say, it’s time for me to ‘Feck Off!’