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Thursday 20 June 2019

Michael O'Doherty: It's hard to believe this grumpy bore created Father Ted

FATHER Ted is the best Irish TV show ever made. But don’t take my word for it – at this summer’s Walkers TVNow Awards, it was voted as such by the Irish public, coming out on top by a healthy distance. Every episode is a mini-masterpiece that stands up to repeated viewing, and will surely go down as one of the greatest sitcoms ever.

Now that would make you think that the people who wrote the show would be witty and charming. But you'd be wrong, because its co-creators Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews come across as a pair of grumpy old bores.

Recognition

In Dublin last week for an event -- an "in conversation with" lecture from the people behind the greatest yawnfest of them all, the IFTAs -- Linehan complained he didn't get proper recognition for his part in creating the show, and is making a documentary, partly to set the record straight.

"The night Dermot Morgan died, BBC News reported his death and said that he wrote and created 'Father Ted'... I heard this thing and I thought 'Wow, should I say something?'

"And of course that became a myth that took off. [The Documentary] is just a way of putting our names to it again and saying it was us, it was our baby."

Which is fair enough. Probably tired of being 'the wind beneath the wings' of Father Ted, Linehan would like his moment in the sun. But when this conversation was recorded in the Herald this week, Linehan became peeved that the photo used was cropped so as to exclude his co-writer Mathews.

Perhaps feeling that this is part of a conspiracy to deny the couple recognition, Linehan launched into a Twitter rant -- the chosen line of communication for such intellects as Brian McFadden and Mark Little -- to slag off this newspaper.

"I'm surprised... but it is the Herald ..." says Graham. "I know, f**king idiots," comes back Mathews, displaying the rapier wit for which he's held in such esteem.

Gosh, these guys ain't half touchy.

Slag

And to remind everyone who it was that actually wrote Ted, Mathews also tweets to slag off The Rose of Tralee. "Lovers of eejitry will have been mezmerised by Daith O'Shea's [sic] hosting..." writes Arthur.

Because, you see, he should know -- that famous skit on the Rose where Dermot Morgan hosts the Lovely Girls Contest? That was written by Linehan and Mathews. Just in case you didn't know... not Morgan or O'Hanlon... Got it?

Rather than coming across as the great minds behind Ted, the exchanges bring to mind the sad, nerdy existences of the characters the former created for the IT Crowd.

Remember that riproaring comedy which has gone down in tv legend.

Oh and please credit the lads with the script, idea etc.

So the next time you see Linehan skulking over a pint, having dragged himself away from his laptop, go and give him a nice big hug. He sounds like he could do with one.

It's like you've never been away Jonny...

After a summer of self-imposed exile, property developer and legendary bon viveur Johnny Ronan is back in town, posing with Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern at the opening of the National Convention Centre.

The black suit, the greased-back hair, the proud posture (maybe lost a few pounds?) posing in front of a building that the taxpayer is picking up the tab for.

Welcome back Johnny, it's like you've never been away.

The rest of the focus was on the unusual appearance of the centre, with its tilted glass facade. According to its architect, this huge curved window is designed to give passers-by a view of the people attending conventions inside which, claims Kevin Roche, "will create a sense of excitement".

Glimpse

Yes, I can see it now. Dubliners lining the banks of the Liffey, hoping to catch a glimpse of a badge-wearing middle manager from a sausage factory in Dusseldorf, attending a three-day symposium on the emerging market for processed food in the Middle East.

If that is Mr Roche's view of excitement, maybe he needs to get out more...

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