From The Archives: Father Ted remembered

One of the greatest sitcoms of all-time – penned by two former Hot Press writers – turns 20 today. We look back at the show and interviews with some of its key players.

On this date 20 years ago, the comedy landscape changed forever. A sitcom dealing with the lives, loves, and Bishop Lens of three priests trapped on a windswept isle off the west coast of Ireland debuted on Channel 4 and immediately made a big impact. It's hard to remember a time before Father Ted. Before we had been introduced to our titular hero, with money resting in his account and dreams of an American escape, man child Dougal, maniacal drunk Jack and the rest of Craggy Island's bizarre and bizarrely endearing inhabitants. Before we all had an almost endless supply of one-liners to call upon for any given situation ("careful now!") and make us seem that bit wittier.

It lasted a mere three series, cut short due to the untimely, tragic death of its star Dermot Morgan, but it pretty much achieved perfection and its impact is still felt to this day. Certainly, no TV comedy packed with predominantly Irish talent has surpassed Father Ted. Most of them aren't even fit to touch the hem of its vestment. It has influenced almost every UK and Irish sitcom that has come along since, won celebrity fans (Cher and Moby love it) and launched the careers of everyone from Tommy Tiernan to Graham Norton.

Its creators, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, have gone on to tremendous writing success.

Hot Press, of course, has always had a close connection with the show. Far be it from us to say that it all started here, but... It kinda did all start here, our illustrious alumni Linehan and Mathews first meeting and working together at HP Towers. Down through the years, we have also interviewed all the key players.

To mark this 20th anniversary, we thought we'd rummage through our vaults and take a trip down memory lane. Read on and enjoy...

Graham Linehan as Hot Press journo, 1988
Proof that Mr. Linehan was hilarious before Father Ted, Black Books, The IT Crowd... Our fresh-faced writer interviews A House and shows his talent.
Read it here

Dermot Morgan opens up, 1994
With Joe Jackson telling us that Morgan was about to "take off for England to start work on a new television series, written by ex-Hot Press employees Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan", this 1994 interview with the late great actor and comedian is a fascinating glimpse into the man before he became forever known as "Ted". Scrap Saturday being ditched, Bishop Casey's bedroom habits, Chris de Burgh's ladies in bed and some good old-fashioned RTE bashing were on the agenda.
Read it here

Father Jack speaks, 1997
Established actor and comedian Frank Kelly talks Ted and finding himself in the curious position of being best-known for shouting "Feck!", "Drink!", "Girls!" and "Arse!"
Read it here

The King Is Ted, 1998
After the sad loss of Dermot Morgan, Father Ted producer Lissa Evans tells Barry Glendenning how the third and final series is the most fitting tribute possible to its late star.
Read it here

Graham Linehan and his Black Books, 2000
Ted was a hard act to follow but, with Black Books, Graham Linehan created another cult comedy show. Here he talks about his star Dylan Moran, his friendship with Chris Morris and how he doesn't actually frequent second-hand bookshops himself.
Read it here

Ted Reckoning, 2007
Two of the men behind the show, Arthur Mathews and director Declan Lowney, reminisce about its impact 10 years later.
Read it here

Remembering Dermot Morgan, 2008
A decade after Dermot's death, his son Bobby and Joe Rooney ("Blur or Oasis?") honour the great man.
Read it here


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