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"It's not another Ted": Meet the people behind Graham Linehan's new sitcom

The new three-part series makes its TV debut on RTÉ this Thursday night.

Image: RTE

THE NAME GRAHAM Linehan is synonymous with one thing in Ireland: Father Ted.

This Thursday the comedy writer brings a new project to our screens and stepping out from under Ted’s shadow will probably be one of the biggest challenges for all those involved.

Linehan has joined creative forces with Irish London-based comedy troupe Diet of Worms to bring three-part sitcom The Walshes to TV screens. It tells the tale of a tight knit family from the fictional West Dublin suburb of Strollinstown.

“I don’t think what Ted did can be replicated” says Philippa Dunne, who plays Irish mammy Carmel.

It shook people up. It’s a creature unto itself and I don’t think anyone could top it.

“There won’t ever be another Ted” Niall Gaffney – who plays dad Tony – agrees. “The Walshes is totally different, the shows are different beasts.”

Source: RTÉ TV Promotions

So who are The Walshes, and how did they end up being brought to life on the small screen by the man who brought us Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd?

“It all started with our web series, The Taste of Home” Gaffney explains.

We met Graham at a gig and we gave him the link to our videos on YouTube. He was very complimentary about The Taste of Home and when he set up his production company he said it was one of the first projects he wanted to go ahead with.

The Taste of Home was set during the 80s and 90s but the new RTÉ/BBC co-production jumps forward to modern day Ireland. The economy’s not great and Ciara (Amy Stephenson) and Rory Walshe (Rory Connolly) are are both still living at home.

“It started as one thing and became another” says Dunne of the original production. “Those were four years that seemed like forever but were gone in the blink of an eye.”

Source: thedietofworms

Gaffney says teaming up with Linehan to develop the show was a dream come true:

Writing with Graham that first week was a bit like going to comedy college. We were jumping in at the top. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was a bit surreal at times.

Taking the concept from YouTube to TV was daunting, but Dunne says Diet of Worms knew their characters were in good hands: “You realise that [Linehan] is so bloody good at what he does and great at focussing you on what you need to do next.”

What does the future hold for the three-part sitcom? Gaffney’s hopeful that this is just the beginning. ”BBC Four has this great platform for comedies to grow” he says, “this is almost like a pilot miniseries to see what it can grow to.”

And as for Dunne?

I haven’t even jumped that far forward. I just hope people enjoy it and that they can relate to it.
  • Catch the first episode of The Walshes on RTÉ One tomorrow night at 10.15pm

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