Monday 11 December 2017

People would come up to me and say 'I have no willy!' Patrick McDonnell on his Father Ted role

Comedian Patrick McDonnell
Comedian Patrick McDonnell

Sasha Brady

Patrick McDonnell is one of Ireland's funniest actors and comedians but his most memorable role to date is that of the ugly-jumper wearing singer in Father Ted, Eoin McLove - a sublime homage to Donegal crooner Daniel O'Donnell.

Who could forget the singing priest's infamous line: "I have no willy?"

Apparently, not many people.

The actor and comedian revealed to the Irish Sunday Mirror that nearly two decades after his one-episode appearance in the Channel 4 sitcom, he still has people coming up to him in the streets repeating that line.

Patrick McDonnell as Eoin McLove in Father Ted. Photo: RTE
Patrick McDonnell as Eoin McLove in Father Ted. Photo: RTE

"There are times when it's fairly intense," he said.

"It was weird walking along with my kids, and they had no idea what Father Ted was, and people would come up to you and say, 'I have no willy!'

"What must that have done to them, or what they thought that was about... people were constantly saying it, that they have no willy, to their dad."

Patrick, has gone on to star in RTE's The Savage Eye, Naked Camera and Chris O'Dowd's Sky Atlantic hit Moone Boy but none of his later roles have eclipsed the notoriety that came with his stint in Father Ted.

Father Ted
Father Ted

"It's weird, you can just be walking along on an empty street and hear something from a window somewhere in the distance. It's the strangest thing.

"It's like Glenroe or something like that... even that has faded. It just keeps going.

"It's a bit like that episode where Richard Wilson is followed by Ted and he says all those lines.

"Well everyone who was in Father Ted is followed around.

Joe Rooney (Fr Damo)
Joe Rooney (Fr Damo)

"People say it to Joe [Rooney, who played Father Damo] all the time, 'Who do you like, Blur or Oasis?' It's constant."

The actor is still thankful to the show for landing him his big break and he believes it did a lot to bolster the careers of many home-grown comedians.

"Most comedians got parts in it all the time If you could do 20 minutes at the International [Comedy Club], you were in with a good shot of getting a slot on Father Ted.

"It's amazing the way things happen like that. I wasn't a big established star or anything. I was just doing a couple of gigs. I would have been on the dole at the time. I don't think it would happen now. I don't think you'd get that big a break so early on."

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