- 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
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