Wednesday 21 March 2018

RTÉ hits back as 'Father Ted' writer accuses it of being 'a joke'

Graham Linehan
Graham Linehan
Father Ted
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

RTÉ have rejected Graham Linehan's claims that the national broadcaster was unsupportive of emerging and established writers.

The 'Father Ted' co-creator described RTÉ as "unbelievably unprofessional" and "a joke" on Twitter at the weekend.

Linehan made the comments while addressing the rumour he and co-writer Arthur Mathews had approached RTÉ with the pilot for the hit comedy.

"As Arthur used to say, 'Why would we give it to RTÉ? That'd be like giving it to Waterford Glass'," Linehan wrote. "At that time, early 1990s, they were useless."

Linehan went on to criticise RTÉ's professional conduct during the production of short-lived 2014 BBC/RTE sitcom 'The Walshes'.

"Every so often we'd write to them [RTÉ], asking if they had any notes. No response," he said.

According to Linehan, RTÉ contacted him once the BBC had "passed" on the sitcom to inform him they were doing the same.

"Can you imagine what would have happened to 'Father Ted' in that kind of system?

"They just don't get back to people. It's unbelievably unprofessional. A joke."

Linehan added: "It just seems to be a place where people get paid to sit in a building."

Last night, RTÉ stressed the importance they placed on developing talent.

"RTÉ is serious about supporting new writing, and will continue to do so," said an RTÉ spokesperson. "The prestigious win for 'Love/Hate' at this weekend's Celtic Media Awards [is] testament to RTÉ's commitment to developing new writing.

"RTÉ was very proud of 'The Walshes'. However, as a part-funder, RTÉ was not in a position to provide majority funding once the BBC decided not to re-commission it."

Irish Independent

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