What If…Father Ted Was Released Today

*To be clear – we are not advocating a reboot, or remaking or reimagining or re-whatever of Father Ted. It stands alone as the most significant and well executed example of Irish made comedy that’s ever been made. This is just a thought…

Who’d play Ted?

Taking into account that Dermot Morgan is now blaspheming God in person, we’d have to assume another actor would take up the reins. It’s easy to beeline towards the more accomplished comedians of our generation, but we’re not sure someone like Dylan Moran would have made a great Ted. He’s too unhinged. Ted got into the church to hide from his failings rather than to highlight his qualities. Perhaps someone like David O Doherty would pulled it off. He wouldn’t be the unanimous choice, but then – who would be. It’s Father Ted.

How would it be different?

There was always a sense of suspicion around the church around the mid-90’s. The country was still beholden to the Bible and priests were emblems of respect and dignity, but the veneer was beginning to slip. Father Ted pulled the mask that priesthood and slapped the face behind it – and it was feckin’ hilarious. It’s tough to find an equivalent in Irish culture for that today – the bankers maybe. But no-one is too scared to show their boiling hatred for that shower of bastards.  If a sitcom about priests living on a lonely Ireland was made today it would almost seem chilling, too safe in passing over the despicable and seedy issues that the priesthood is now synonymous with. Tonally at least, it would be a lot different. Subtle hints about Ted knowing all about the smoothness of a baby’s bottom would take on a whole new meaning. However, little gags like this one below will always, and forever, be rib-crunchingly hilarious.

Would RTE take a punt on it?

RTE famously turned down the option of producing Father Ted. This was a time when the sight of Gay Byrne holding a condom on the Late Late Show sent the whole nation into shock.  Pauline McGlynn has since come out and said that an RTE version of the show would have been utterly ‘toothless’. We really don’t want to know what sanitised, politically correct vision they had in mind for Father Jack. The creators of Father Ted then offered it to Channel 4 and were then allowed to make the show how the liked. The rest, as they say, is geography. These days RTE is far more liberal then they ever were back then, but that’s due in no small part to Father Ted itself. Love/Hate, though far from being a comedy, broke through a lot of the barriers that separated quality from controversy. We like to think RTE have moved on with the times enough that a show like this wouldn’t scare them away. Considering that this is as controversial as their output tends to get these days…

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