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25 Jan 2017

Press Release: FATHER TED PODCAST TO DECLARE FANS’ FAVOURITE EPISODE

  • Belfast-based Father Ted podcast, Ecumenical Matters to reveal results of months-long fan poll
  • Podcast covered every episode of the classic sitcom with weekly hour long discussion with a different guest from local arts and music scenes
  • Host James McAnespy has performed professionally as a Father Dougal impersonator - and had to respond to Graham Linehan’s dislike of these

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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A Belfast-based podcast that has forensically studied each episode of the seminal nineties sitcom Father Ted is set to reveal the results of a poll where fans chose their favourite episode of the show.

Having undergone a weekly hour-long discussion on each episode of the classic show, the panel - made up of host James McAnespy and a variety of guests from a variety of performance and comedy fields - were asked if they felt the episode deserved a nomination as a ‘Top 5 Contender’ to be decided at the conclusion of the podcast. Listeners of the podcast were then invited to vote on the episodes and the results are now in and are set to be revealed in the podcast’s final episode.

Father Ted was a hugely popular British sitcom about three dysfunctional priests who were sequestered on a remote island off Ireland’s west coast that ran on Channel 4 from 1995 to 1998. Written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, the show still enjoys a remarkably large following, particularly in Ireland, and is still broadcast on More4.

In 2016, actor, writer and Father Ted fan, James McAnespy started a weekly podcast that explored each episode individually to see how it held up to modern standards of comedy.

“Each week we break down episodes and try to give better context for viewers - especially viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the Irish and Catholic aspects of the show,” James explains. “A particular example is our detailing of Bishop Brennan's first appearance, and how it was directly inspired by the scandal of the real life Bishop of Galway who had a son in America, or we provide more context for Dougal's night wear, the Ireland football jersey and why it would have been important to him in the mid 1990s.”

Regular features include a running count of Mrs Doyle's 'Ah Go Ons', a 'Meet your Maker' where the panel spot appearances of writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews in the show, ‘Jack’s Drinks Cabinet,’ listing every drink Jack has imbibed, and the ‘Fillum Collection’ - a definitive list of the films that the priests have watched.

“The show is still hilarious, even after all these years, and multiple viewings, I’m still finding myself cracking up at it,” James said. “You can go anywhere in the world you will still find someone who can quote the lines back to you!”

The guests on the podcast were drafted from James’ huge network of artists and comedians from his work as a writer and actor in Belfast and London. Guests have included the street artist Friz (Marian Noone) and her husband Gerry Norman of A Plastic Rose, performance poet and musician Colin Hassard, Comedy duo Victoria E Armstrong and David Doherty-Jebb, as well a host of other performers and writers from Belfast and beyond.

Over the course of the podcast, James recorded mostly in his central-Belfast flat, but he also recorded episodes in London, a live episode as part of Culture Night Belfast (where it was one of the festival’s Best Bits) and even in a public square during the Edinburgh festival, while cellist Ursula Burns could be heard in the background.

The podcast dove right into a controversy, by responding directly to Graham Linehan's distaste of tribute shows - James has performed as a tribute to Father Dougal in a number of these shows. During the podcast covering the seminal episode Speed 3 - where Dougal is trapped on a milk float by a randy milkman - James played a clip of Linehan from an interview with Richard Herring, released a day before recording and responded directly to the creator's complaints.

All the podcast episodes are available to download for free on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/ecumencial-matters-father/id1116660897?mt=2), Soundcloud and all major podcast platforms, and the results episode will be release on the 31st January. Listeners can also interact with the show on the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/EcumicalMatters

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23 Jan 2017

Past Collaborators: Michael Keane

Past Collaborators is a feature where I look back at some of the performers I've worked with over the years, with an update of what they are doing now.

Michael Keane is an actor and improv artist from Westmeath who I've a great relationship with, knowing him from London Comedy Writers, as a guest on my podcast, and a friend.

Past Work: Tea [2004]

Past Work is a series where I look back at some of the jobs I've done that didn't get posted up here for a variety of reasons.

Going through some of my old hard drives and laptops has lead to me finding some gems (or not!), and I've decided to put some of them up here for your amusement!

Tea was a short film I made in school while at the CBS Omagh. I had just worked with Chris Baugh on his film Crashing the Wake and it gave me the buzz to want to get into this industry, so I gathered a few of the other runners I was working with - Bryce Dunne and Declan Taggart (who was also one of my best mates, which was handy) - to get them to work with me on the script.

22 Jan 2017

New Short Film: For a Future [2017]

Another student project that I just got a final edit on was For a Future, a crime thriller about two young burglars who try to up their score in order to secure their long term ambitions.

I was working with the same team who made Chairs, so I was familiar with the guys. This was directed by Ben Ross and produced by Ciara McLarnon, who directed Chairs. She has a lot of experience, working with Cinemagic among others, and is one to watch for the future. Jack Tollerton and Jenna Mealiff were on sound again and I was acting alongside Andy Boyd.
As you can see, it's inspired by the likes of Tarantino and Scorsese, and the camera work during the death scene is incredibly effective. 

19 Jan 2017

Tribute to Patrick Sanders

Very sad news trickled through the Belfast theatre circles yesterday with the news of the untimely passing of Patrick Sanders, a hugely talented cartoonist and threare practitioner. I worked with him most closely during Tinderbox's Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life, where he was the co-ordinator of the chorus, and was very generous and warm hearted throughout. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family and there is a very heartfelt tribute on Re:Play's website, who he had been working with over a number of years.

11 Jan 2017

New short film: Chairs [2017]

Just before Christmas I was busy with a number of student projects ahead of updating my showreel. I need new filmed footage, and there's three major film courses being run in Belfast, by Queen's University, Belfast Metropolitan College, and Ulster University, so there is usually a lot of eager young film makers looking for actors.

The first to be completed is a lovely little silent (well, no dialogue) film called Chairs about a hapless janitor's struggles with an unruly group of apparently sentient chairs!

Roles without dialogue present a unique challenge to actors - all communication must come from the face and the physical form. Looking at this now, I feel I made a couple of missteps, but I have identified them and will know what to be aware of in future.

It was a delight to work with the student's of Queens for this one, (directed by Ciara McLarnon; DOP Ben Ross; production Jenna Mealiff) and the writer/sound man Jack Tollerton has put the finished project up on his Youtube channel.



4 Jan 2017

Past Work: Romancing the Score at the Pentameters Theatre Hampstead (2015)

One of the stage productions I had been part of in London that I didn't produce myself was Romancing the Score in the quaint little Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead. The comedy was written by Armagh writer Shane White, about a group of no-hopers who represented a small Belfast pub in a local 5-a-side league.
Rehearsal shot of Romancing the Score. L-R: Myself, Damien Regan, Jon Adams, James Anthony, Mark Moore

2 Jan 2017

New footage found of C.L.G. (Cúmann Luthchleas Gael) from 2014!

It's great finding footage of your old work that you didn't know existed, an unexpected blast from the past! An audience member from the White Bear sent me this a few weeks ago - the full play of C.L.G. from the 2014 run.
I remember Paul Rogers taking one look at the script and just getting it immediately - completely putting to bed any anxiety I had about the fact that the character is written for a much older actor. Paul was great to work with and is now training to be a wrestler - I can't wait to see him in action! He's just decided on a finishing move, so I'll keep you posted when he's laying the smackdown in a ring near you!

I've decided to follow this up with footage of some of my other old work - no matter how good or bad it is! So if you have any footage or photographs of work I've been in, please do get in touch!