Tuesday 17 January 2017

60 years making Ireland laugh and incurring the wrath of the establishment

John Boland

Published 29/02/2016 | 02:30

Frank Kelly playing His Lordship The Bishop in John B Keane’s ‘Moll’ in 2014. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Frank Kelly playing His Lordship The Bishop in John B Keane’s ‘Moll’ in 2014. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Long before he became famous throughout the world as foul-mouthed Jack Hackett in 'Father Ted', Frank Kelly had been making Irish people laugh, especially in RTÉ's long-running political satire, 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly'.

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In that weekly series, which ran from 1971 until 1980, he played a myriad of roles, from culchie councillor Parnell Mooney to pipe-smoking Taoiseach Jack Lynch - though it should be noted that his glee in lampooning establishment figures wasn't licked off a stone.

The comedian's father was Charles E Kelly, whose prestigious day jobs included director of Radio Éireann broadcasting and of the Post Office Savings Bank, but whose real passion was for the satirical magazine, 'Dublin Opinion', which he co-founded in 1922 and edited until its demise in 1968.

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