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Ardal O'Hanlon thinks Father Ted would still work in 'cancel culture era'

"There are a few episodes of Father Ted that have warnings before they go out now and I don't have a problem with that, so long as they don't take down shows entirely."
Father Ted

Father Ted

Kevin Palmer

He will forever be Father Dougal in the eyes of millions of fans around the world, but Ardal O'Hanlon hopes his career is remembered for more than his portrayal of one iconic character.

After first appearing in the role that made him famous in Father Ted back in 1995, Monaghan-born Ardal has enjoyed a fine acting career, but his breakthrough appearances remain a source of great entertainment with repeats continuing to air on TV networks across the globe.

And while he doesn't shy away from his most celebrated portrayal, the actor would like to think his story will be remembered for more than just playing the priest.

"I still get recognised as Father Dougal and that's fine, but luckily I've done lots of other stuff and I have avoided being typecast," he told Magazine+ at Sky's Up Next event in London.

"I never want people to forget what a great show it was, but hopefully I am remembered for other shows as well.

"It says everything about Father Ted that it is still enjoyed by a lot of people and that's great, but it was a long time ago now and I'm grateful to have had a career that has included a lot of great roles."

Ardal O'Hanlon and Dermot Morgan in the brilliant Father Ted

Ardal O'Hanlon and Dermot Morgan in the brilliant Father Ted

It's hard to assess whether Father Ted's brand of cutting Irish humour would have been accepted in a modern world, where one false word can lead to your cancellation.

Yet its star suggests comedy still has space to shine at a time when the acceptable boundaries have shifted.

"Would Father Ted still work in this modern era of cancel culture? It probably would, but you might have to change a few things," believes Ardal.

"There are a few episodes of Father Ted that have warnings before they go out now and I don't have a problem with that, so long as they don't take down shows entirely."

O'Hanlon's latest role sees him cast alongside his fellow Father Ted great Pauline McLynn, who famously portrayed the befuddled Mrs Doyle in the comedy classic which ran from 1995-1998.

Now the pair are set to star alongside Sheridan Smith in Sky's new original comedy-drama Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything and he admits the chance to once again work with the Sligo-born actress was a pleasant surprise.

"I didn't know Pauline would be my wife in this show until after I signed up for it," he says.

"Then shortly before we started filming, the call came in to tell me it was Pauline and me back on screen and it was just fantastic. I think we make a very convincing old couple. Our history together means we know each other so well and it enables us to pull off the grumpy old pair routine.

"It's great to work on screen with someone who you know well. Pauline and I have a history and affection for each other which means it is a joy to be on set with her again and it was nice to get back on familiar soil to film this great show for Sky.

"I have been working on Death In Paradise for the BBC in recent years and while filming in the Caribbean is delightful, it can get very hot for a pasty Irishman.

"So it was great to be working in Manchester and the chance to be back with Pauline and working with Sheridan Smith was one I couldn't resist.

Sheridan Smith in Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything

Sheridan Smith in Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything

"In the show, Rosie [Smith] has a lot of drink and drug issues and she is reaching a point in her life where she needs to try and deal with them. It proves to be easier said that done," he explains.

"I play her dad and we have a wonderfully warm relationship. We consider each other to be best friends and we spend a lot of our time together in the pub, so we have enabled ourselves."

At the age of 56, O'Hanlon's acting talents have taken him in a whole new direction in his latest role, ensuring Father Dougal is very much a relic of his glorious past.

Rosie Molloy Gives Up Everything will air on Sky this autumn


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