O’Hanlon leads Irish contingent in new Channel 4 sitcom

Comedian Ardal O’Hanlon has revealed he has returned to Channel 4 to take on a starring role in a sitcom.

The actor has just wrapped filming a production for the station which produced Father Ted. However, he was keeping tight-lipped about the show.

He said: “It is fairly exciting. I’m being a bit cagey because it will be ages before it comes out. We’re just filming the last week of it.

“There are a lot of Irish characters in it.”

He revealed yesterday on the Ray D’Arcy show that BBC bosses are actively seeking the next Irish sitcom to emulate the success of Mrs Brown’s Boys.

“That does happen. In fact someone told me that the controller of BBC 1 called all the executives in and showed them the pilot for Mrs Brown and said ‘now, there, that’s what we are looking for’.

“They were all sent out scurrying looking for something in a similar vein. The thing I am doing isn’t in a similar vein. It’s as far removed from Mrs Brown’s Boys as you could imagine.”

The 47-year-old last featured on the small screen when he teamed up with Father Ted co-creator Arthur Matthews in 2010 to film the RTÉ sitcom Val Falvey.

He has revealed how he has stopped doing Dougalisms but he had been asked to carry out sacraments in the past by fans on the street.

He said: “I’ve been asked to say Mass and hear confession quite a lot. But the thing is I am interested in people’s sins.”

He told how the priest who celebrated his marriage after he shot to fame in Father Ted was as funny as any character in the iconic sitcom.

“We had an amazing priest who was my next door neighbour, Fr Martin Donnelly. He is one of the wittiest people you could ever meet. He was so relaxed and so wonderful. He just had the place in bits.

“Father Ted was about to launch into its second series. It was no trouble to him. He is just naturally funny. I have to work very hard.”

The comedian, who is set to appear at the Vodafone Comedy Festival on Thursday and the Galway Arts Festival next Sunday, said he still loves doing stand-up.

“You have to focus on your thing and get people’s attention and say funny things. The only advice I was ever given at the time was just to do your own thing. The more you it is and the more unique it is the better it will be.”

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