Outrage as Channel 4 plans sitcom based on Irish famine

Channel 4 are planning to air a Shameless-style sitcom based on the Great Famine. 

Outrage as Channel 4 plans sitcom based on Irish famine

Speaking to the Irish Times, screenwriter Hugh Travers revealed that he is writing the sitcom, Hungry, following an open commission by Channel 4, which allows him to write "any idea I wanted".

"Well, they say ‘comedy equals tragedy plus time," Mr Travers says.

“I don’t want to do anything that denies the suffering that people went through, but Ireland has always been good at black humour.

"We’re kind of thinking of it as Shameless in famine Ireland."

During the Great Famine, approximately 1 million people died of starvation between 1845 and 1852 and a further 1.5 million people emigrated.

The announcement of Hungry has sparked outrage.

Many social media users have condemened the series, calling it "thoroughly disgraceful" and asking "what exactly is funny about the starvation of millions?"

Fianna Fail County Councillor David McGuinness says he is "extremely saddened and angry that one of the most defining eras in Irish history will be the source for a new sitcom" and hopes that Irish-based television outlets, as well as the Irish people, will not support the programme.

"I firmly believe the Irish people and Irish diaspora throughout the world, will join me in condemning Channel 4’s financing of a show to embarrass and denigrate this important event in Irish history."

Over 2,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the planned television series.

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