Graham Linehan


1968- ; b. Dublin; educ. Catholic Univ. School; became film critic and art director with Hot Press, where he met Arthur Matthews with whom he scripted Father Ted (Channel 4, 1995-98); moved to London; co-wrote Black Books, the C4 [UK] sit comedy (2000-04); also with Matthews, The Big Train (BBC 9 Nov.-4 Dec. 1998); also shares credits on The All New Alexei Sayle Show, Paris, The Day Today, I’m Alan PartridgeBrass Eye, The Fast Show, and Coogan's Run;

script-writer for The I.T. Crowd (2006); winner of the British Comedy Award for Writers 2010; re-scripted The Ladykillers for the stage (Liverpool Th.; played Gielgud Th. in 2012); winner of 4 Baftas and an Emmy; married Helen in 2004; with a large Twitter following, he once said, ‘Facebook was just John the Baptist. Twitter is the real deal’; launched #welovetheNHS Twitter campaign.

[ top ]

with Arthur Mathews, Father Ted: The Complete Scripts (London: Boxtree 1999, 2000), 368pp., ill. [24cm.]; with Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, and Arthur Mathews The Complete Black Books [3 ser., [prod. by Nira Park & Julian Meers; dir. by Linehan, Nick Wood & Martin Dennis] (Assembly Film/ Channel 4), 3 cassettes [DVD]. also Father Ted: The Craggy Island Parish Magazines (London: Pan-Macmillan 1998) [in book-form].

The Black Books (2000-04): Ser. 1: Cooking the books; Manny's first day; Grapes of wrath; The blackout; The big lockout; He's leaving home; Ser. 2: The entertainer; Fever; The fixer; Blood; Hello sun; A nice change; Ser. 3: Manny come home; Elephants and hens; Moo-ma, moo-pa; A little flutter; Travel writer; Party.

[ top ]

Julian Gough: ‘I remember reading Graham Linehan when he was only 17 and writing for Hot Press, and thinking, this guy is the funniest writer in Ireland.Of course, he got no recognition or encouragement in Ireland, so he went to London and co-wrote Father Ted, and Black Books, and now writes The I.T. Crowd. (Two days ago, as I write this, he won the British Comedy Award for writers.) The guy’s a genius, but he’s been working out of London, with UK broadcasters, since his early 20s, so he has no reason to address Ireland.’

See also Aida Edemariam, “the Saturday Interview: Graham Linehan”, in The Guardian (11 June 2011) - online.

[...] Linehan and Arthur Mathews, colleagues at a small Dublin music magazine, and then hopeful writers in a shared flat in outer London, simply sent a couple of sketches to the BBC on spec, and were taken up by Alas Smith and Jones.

Linehan was in his mid-twenties, a middle-class Catholic who lost his religion at 14: when ‘I was a Holy Joe, as Ted would say. But I was going through the normal things that all 14-year-old boys go through, and I was very, very upset about it, very worried, and I thought I was going to go to hell, and then one day, we had these encyclopaedias. And the last encyclopaedia was called The Guide for Parents. And I thought, “Oh, maybe there‘ll be something about this horrible thing that I have to do all the time in here.’ So I opened it up, got to M, saw masturbation, turned to that page, and it read, “Masturbation: nothing to worry about, completely normal.” And I immediately stopped believing in God.’

A couple of years later he realised he could make people laugh. ‘I used to do these debates at my school, and I just found all that kind of ... boring.’ He puts on a deep, portentous voice. ‘“Prove that religion is a force for good” - I just thought: “I don’t really have an opinion on that, so I’ll just tell jokes. You know?”’

When he and Mathews met, the latter, 10 years older, was already using the Father Ted figure in his standup. [...]

[ top ]

Father Ted
: Fr. Ted Crilly (Dermot Morgan), Fr. Dougal McGuire (Ardal O’Hanlon), and Fr. Jack Hackett (Frank Kelly) have all been banished to Craggy Island off the coast of Ireland for unnamed misdeeds. There Ted dreams of fulfilling his promise as an example of clerical charm and intelligence in a better parish while Fr Jack obsesses about drink and sex in a state of far-gone dementia and naive Fr. Doug lumbers from one theological inanity to the another, acting as a foil to Fr. Ted’s invariably ineffectual pretensions. Meanwhile Mrs Doyle (Pauline McLynn), their unlovely housekeeper, makes a hames of traditional Irish hospitality and cheese-pares domestic comforts to the limit while placing an insane reliance on the benficial properties of a cup of tea as a solution to life’s trials. Fr. Ted's original sin appears to have been ‘that Lourdes thing’ where he stole the funds at Lourdes and ended up in Las Vegas.

[ top ]