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RTÉ has responded to Graham Linehan's Twitter assault

The Father Ted writer called the broadcaster “a joke”.

Father Ted festival Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

FATHER TED WRITER Graham Linehan pulls no punches when it comes to his feelings about RTÉ.

After a week in which Ted was fondly remembered and richly honoured 20 years after it was first broadcast on Channel 4, he’s used his Twitter account to remind people that the sitcom was never offered to RTÉ, that he thought the broadcaster was useless 20 years ago, and that not much has changed.

Linehan has said that he thought things had changed, and that’s why he approached RTÉ in 2013 asking them to “come in on The Walshes”, a new comedy he was developing with Irish group The Diet of Worms.

In January it was announced that the BBC had decided not to go for any more episodes of The Walshes, after its mini-run of three shows.

Linehan took it back to RTÉ, who weren’t interested. Upon nearing nothing from the head of comedy they “went over his head”, finally hearing back months later when he decided to pass, claims Linehan.

Can you imagine what would have happened to Father Ted in that kind of system?

In a statement an RTÉ spokesperson said that the broadcaster was “very proud of The Walshes, and very happy with the series”.

However, as a part funder, RTE was not in a position to provide majority funding once the BBC decided not to recommission the series.

It goes on:

RTE is serious about supporting new writing, and will continue to do so. The prestigious win for Love/Hate at this weekend’s Celtic Media Awards, beating the BBC’s Sherlock as Best Drama, and recent awards for the latest Storyland series on RTE Player, including Shaun Blaney’s award for Best Actor in a Drama Series at the International Academy of Web Television Awards earlier this month, are testament to RTE’s commitment to developing new writers and new writing.

Linehan told DailyEdge.ie last week that he’s “not giving up” on The Walshes, blaming poor publicity and a late time slot for the show’s failure to thrive.

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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