Father Ted to become pope in stage musical
The “real final episode” of the popular sitcom Father Ted is set to be viewed not on the small screen, but on stage, next year.
Graham Linehan, a co-writer of the Channel 4 show, revealed on Saturday that Pope Ted – the Father Ted Musical, was “almost written”.
Like the TV show, it has been written jointly by Linehan and Arthur Mathews, with Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy responsible for the music.
In response to questions from fans on Twitter, Linehan promised that the announcement was “true and not one of my stupid jokes”.
He described the musical as the “real final episode”, adding: “Didn’t want to do something until the right idea came along. This was the right idea. Arthur and I have been laughing our arses off while writing it. Just like the old days.”
In light of Donald Trump becoming US president and Jeremy Corbyn taking over as Labour leader, Linehan said he thought it “wouldn’t be too much of a stretch” for Father Ted to head up the Catholic church.
“Obviously we’re pulling some shenanigans to get him into that position, but I think the shenanigans are entertaining enough that people won’t mind,” he told the BBC.
The musical had not yet been cast and it was not clear when or where it would premiere.
Surreal and slapstick, Father Ted featured Dermot Morgan and fellow Irish actors Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly and Pauline McLynn playing three priests and their housekeeper, living on the fictional Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland.
It was also the first time most British viewers saw Graham Norton, who went on to become a talk show host on Channel 4 and the BBC.
Just three series of Father Ted were broadcast between 1995 and 1998 but the 25 episodes inspired a fanatical fan base in 10 countries and have been repeated regularly since.
The sitcom won a Bafta, two British comedy awards and spawned an industry exemplified by the annual Tedfest event on the Aran islands.
Morgan, who played Father Ted, died in February 1998, the day before his 46th birthday. He had considered becoming a priest before his religious beliefs lapsed and he became a standup comedian who often savaged the Catholic church.
Kelly, who had a celebrated career on stage, film and television, died in 2016 at the age of 77.