IT Crowd creator’s Today spat continues on Twitter

An interview on the Radio 4 show promoting Graham Linehan's The Ladykillers stage remake sparks a cyber row

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Father Ted and The IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan this morning accused BBC Radio 4’s Today programme of trying to turn a piece about his new play into an artificial argument – and the row has now continued on to Twitter.

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“Question of morning in Today studio is why maker of Father Ted is so cross,” tweeted presenter Justin Webb (@todayjustin). To which Linehan (@glinner) replied online: “Cross because I think your brand of artificially adversarial ‘debate’ poisons discourse in this country. Not playing your game.”

Linehan appeared on both Today and BBC Breakfast this morning promoting his new stage remake of famed Ealing Comedy film The Ladykillers. Where BBC Breakfast’s interview was a straight piece interviewing Linehan and star Peter Capaldi, Today chose to pair Linehan with Guardian Theatre critic Michael Billington, who questioned why theatre is remaking hit films so much.

The comedy writer objected on air, saying: “I just find the whole thing of setting up an adversarial kind of fight between me and Michael a little bit… It’s so artificial. Michael’s been brought on to present the view that there’s just no point in doing this at all and I’m not going to go into that kind of discussion.”

Writing to fans later on Twitter, Linehan explained: “I thought format might be less confrontational for arts items. But they evidently don’t know how to do that.”

Listen to the whole Today interview: the key point begins at 3’40” but the entire piece is an interesting listen for details of the play and also Linehan’s growing displeasure. The video of his later appearance on BBC Breakfast is on the show’s official site.

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The Ladykillers starring Peter Capaldi, James Fleet and Ben Miller opens to previews at Liverpool’s Playhouse on 3 November and transfers to London’s Gielgud Theatre for previews from 26 November.