Belfast Telegraph

Outrage at proposed 'Shameless' style sitcom about Ireland's Great Famine

A 'Shameless' style sitcom about The Great Famine commissioned by Channel 4 has been met with outrage - before it's even been written.

Dublin writer Hugh Travers is in the stages of writing the programme called Hungry.

In an interview with the Irish Times he said it would be a 'Shameless' style sitcom based in famine stricken Ireland.

Shameless was a critically acclaimed, offbeat drama about the rollercoaster lives and loves of a dysfunctional family.

Earlier this year the 31-year-old writer from Dublin's play Lambo was adapted for an award winning radio production.

The writer was given an open commission by Channel 4 after they read another of his scripts.

He told the Irish Times it was a daunting task.

He said:  “Any idea I wanted – which was a massive opportunity and at the same time, seriously daunting,”

When asked why he chose the famine he said: "Well, they say ‘comedy equals tragedy plus time.

 “I don’t want to do anything that denies the suffering that people went through, but Ireland has always been good at black humour. We’re kind of thinking of it as Shameless in famine Ireland.”

Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan said the famine should not be used as a '"vehicle for comedy".

He said: "This decision to commission a so-called comedy series based around the famine has sparked anger in Ireland and among Irish communities across the world.

"Such a national tragedy is hardly an appropriate vehicle for comedy, regardless of where or when it happened."

As The Great Famine tightened its grip on Ireland more than 150 years ago causing one million to die from starvation and many more were forced to leave.

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