Graham Linehan: I could never write Father Ted now

The comedy writer said his hatred of the church means he could never create the inhabitants of Craggy Island now

Father Ted may have ended 15 (yes, 15) years ago, but the inhabitants of Craggy Island are still comedy favourites, and our love of their catchphrases go on, go on, go on, go on, go on… (That almost works.)

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But co-creator Graham Linehan has said that he could never write the hit Channel 4 sitcom today.

Linehan – who has also lent his comedy genius to Black Books, The IT Crowd and BBC2’s new comedy Count Arthur Strong – said: “I could never write Ted now because I’d be so angry my fingers would go through the keyboard.”

“I was never beaten or abused by priests who taught me at CUS [Catholic University School] – some of them were a bit eccentric but they all seemed harmless enough,” he went on. “But since Ted, and everything that’s come out, I’ve just come to really hate the church.”

Happily, Linehan doesn’t only harbour negative feelings for Craggy Island’s three priests…

“Ted is this light innocent bloke who somehow ended up in the priesthood, and I had great affection for him,” Linehan told The Independent. “[Father Ted] brought a lot of people together, and I think that was only possible because we didn’t take the hard-edged satirical approach. We were just silly.”

The Bafta award-winning sitcom, starring Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly and Pauline McLynn, followed Craggy Island’s three less-than-holy priests and their tea-peddling housekeeper. The series gently mocked the Catholic church, with lead character Ted once saying: “That’s the great thing about Catholicism – it’s very vague and no-one knows what its really all about.”

Father Ted ran for three series between 1995 and 1998, ending after Dermot Morgan died aged 45.

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Count Arthur Strong starts on BBC2 this summer. The IT Crowd is set to return for a one-off special.