It’s been just over twenty years since the final episode of classic priest comedy Father Ted aired. Now, series creator Graham Linehan (also creator of The IT Crowd and Black Books) has announced that he and co-creator Arthur Matthews have reunited and have nearly finished writing ‘the real final episode’ – which will take the form of a musical titled Pope Ted: The Father Ted Musical, speculated to be released in 2019. Per Linehan, the duo have been “laughing [their] arses off while writing it, just like the old days”.
‘Pope Ted—The Father Ted Musical’ written by Arthur Mathews and myself, music by Neil Hannon, is almost written. I just thought you’d like to know. THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
Although the original series had a fellow priest tearfully insist that it was the lecherous, hard-drinking Father Jack who “could have been Pope”, the musical will, as the title suggests, see Father Ted Crilly ascend to the Papacy, presumably through a series of wacky shenanigans. rel=”nofollow”The process of becoming Pope, and the way the actual office works, are hopelessly byzantine and complicated – that is to say, ripe for mockery.
The musical portions will be arranged by frequent Linehan collaborator Neil Hannon, central member of The Divine Comedy, who created the themes for the original Father Ted series and The IT Crowd, as well as the unforgettable ‘My Lovely Horse’, Ted and Dougal’s entry for the totally-unrelated-to-Eurovision ‘Eurosong’ contest.
This news has been warmly welcomed by fans – Father Ted is a near-universally beloved sitcom, reckoned to be to Ireland what Monty Python’s Flying Circus was to England. However, the musical will see some changes in the cast, as Dermot Morgan and Frank Kelly, who played Father Ted and Father Jack respectively, are no longer with us. Morgan’s death was particularly tragic, coming as it did at the tender age of 45, and only one day after the third season of the show had completed filming.
Whoever replaces Ted and Jack will have something of a mountain to climb – Morgan and Kelly were defined by their roles in Father Ted, and to replace them will inevitably be seen by some as being in dubious taste. Their co-stars Ardal O’Hanlon and Pauline McLynn are still performing, although are yet to comment on whether they will be involved.
Linehan has been kicking the idea around since 2015 – since its inception he was clear that he had no desire to revive the TV series, for fear it would “poison people’s memories of the original”, and suggested that this project would draw on South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s musical The Book Of Mormon. Matthews was originally “not as convinced”, although this has evidently changed since.
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