Echoing sentiments that he expressed to us several years ago during our interview for PBS’ Funny Blokes of British Comedy, Ardal O’Hanlon (Father Dougal) told a BBC Radio interview audience recently that writers, Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, had already determined there would be no more Father Ted programs even before the sudden untimely death of the brilliant Dermot Morgan (Father Ted).
According to O’Hanlon, actors queued up shortly after Morgan’s death and there were numerous calls to the production company from agents and casting directors suggesting either replacements or story ideas for spin-off’s without the title character. Thankfully, Linehan and Mathews said absolutely not. There would be no more Craggy Island antics.
A cocker spaniel?
During our interview in 2003 with O’Hanlon regarding both Father Ted and My Hero, he did express a bit of frustration with the possibility of becoming typecast with his somewhat simpleton character of Father Dougal McGuire. He also said both then and now that he patterned him after the character traits of a cocker spaniel. Somewhere in that comparison is the obvious “this is very unfair to the cocker spaniel” line, but I’ll leave you to that thought.
There are only a few shows that ended when they should have ended – Fawlty Towers, The Office and Father Ted immediately come to mind. To all of them, I offer a very sincere thank you from this side of the pond for the sheer genius of each short-lived series and knowing when to end on top.