‘Father Ted’ creator to give a few lessons in laughter

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan has been signed up to help mould future television greats in the first TV comedy course of its kind.

The course is being rolled out by Channel 4 and the National Film and Television School in the UK to find the makers of the next Mrs Brown’s Boys or Fawlty Towers.

The writer behind Father Ted and The IT Crowd is one of a group of mentors drafted in by the station to pass on the art of creating a sitcom.

Recent years have been dubbed a golden age for Irish comedians in Britain, with a string of home-grown TV shows hitting the small screen across the water.

The new 18 month part-time diploma in writing and producing comedy will teach students to develop all forms of scripted comedy.

Linehan, along with Spitting Image’s John O’Farrell and Fresh Meat’s Sam Bain, will host guest sessions with the students.

Nik Powell, director of the National Film and Television School, said Linehan will be passing on some of his comic genius.

“People often question whether comedy can be taught,” said Mr Powell. “We take the view that a sense of humour is innate but being able to write comedy for film or television is a skill that is honed through practice.”

Phil Clarke, head of comedy at Channel 4, said producing comedy is a serious business.

“Inherent comic talent is important, however, acquiring the craft of making comedy is the only way to sustain a career.

“Channel 4 has a long tradition of engaging with, and encouraging, new talent but the more experience you can gain when starting out, the better.”

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