Belfast Telegraph

Father Ted creators ‘settle their differences to finish musical’

The Divine Comedy star Neil Hannon said Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews were back on working terms.

Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy (Ian West/PA)
Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy (Ian West/PA)

The writing pair behind Father Ted have “settled their differences” and are close to finishing a musical version of the hit sitcom, according to pop star Neil Hannon.

Hannon, who performs as The Divine Comedy, said Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews had clashed over the project but were now “back in a room” writing together.

The Northern Irish musician, 48, penned the theme tune to the original comedy series and is currently working on the music for the stage version.

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Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, praise be, settled their differences and we are all back in a room writing the musical.

“It’s very exciting. In fact, we are pretty much almost finished. It’ll still be quite a while before it hits the boards.

“I take all my inspiration from what they have written, the scenes they have constructed.

“Sometimes I have written about six songs for one particular scene that never seem to hit the nail on the head. But most of them have come quite easily.”

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Father Ted actor Dermot Morgan with his partner, pictured in the late 1990s (Cheskin/PA)

The series featured a quartet of Irish actors: the late Dermot Morgan as Father Ted, the late Frank Kelly as Father Jack and Ardal O’Hanlon as Father Dougal, with Pauline McLynn playing their housekeeper Mrs Doyle.

Set on the fictional Craggy Island, the series notched up many awards including a Bafta, British Comedy accolades and was also the inspiration for the annual fan convention called The Friends of Ted Festival, or Ted Fest.

Linehan confirmed in June last year that a musical version of the well-loved comedy series was in the works, apparently revealing its title as “Pope Ted – The Father Ted Musical”.

He said the show would be “the real final episode of Father Ted”.

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Ardal O’Hanlon played the hapless Father Dougal in the beloved show (Ian West/PA)

Hannon appeared to confirm this, saying Father Ted had risen “substantially” within the clergy.

He said: “I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say. I’ll get told off for saying things. But yes, he goes up in the world substantially. I’ll leave it at that.”

He added: “(It’s) due out at the end of a piece of string. Nobody knows.”

But asked if they were aiming for a release date in 2020, he replied: “Yeah, hopefully.”

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