Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Audience key to Father Ted success

Father Ted writer Graham Linehan reckons the show would still be commissioned today

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan believes the secret behind the award-winning comedy's success was filming it in front of a live studio audience.

The writer and director said the much-loved show wouldn't have been such a hit if it hadn't been filmed in front of a crowd every week.

"The show got funnier every week - you're terrified that you're going to get out there in front of an audience and they won't laugh, so you have to polish your jokes so they're working at the top of their abilities," he revealed.

"It wouldn't work without an audience because it was gag-based and surreal, that kind of meant that each gag needed to have some sort of punctuation and the punctuation of laughter is the best out there."

Channel 4 is screening an evening of episodes and documentaries about Father Ted to celebrate the comedy's 15th anniversary.

Graham, who co-created the show with Arthur Mathew, said he liked to think it would still get commissioned today

"I like to think that people would pick up on it. From the start the scripts were quite dense with jokes, there were a lot of gags in there and the characters all worked very well together and I don't think any executive worth his position would turn up his nose at that kind of combination," he said.

:: Father Ted Night, runs on New Year's Day from 9pm on Channel 4pm.

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