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Tuesday 22 October 2019

Brendan Grace: Five of the Dublin comedian's best career moments

Brendan Grace
Brendan Grace

Aoife Walsh

Legendary Dublin comedian entertainer Brendan Grace sadly passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning following a battle with pneumonia and lung cancer.

In wake of his tragic passing, below are five memorable moments from Grace's 50-year spanning career that fans will have to fondly remember him by.

1. Comedy sketch character 'Bottler'

One of Grace's most-loved characters was schoolboy 'Bottler'. Proving to be a huge hit with audiences, the skit often saw Grace switching roles - alternating between the schoolboy, Bottler, and a schoolteacher. Bottler gave witty, quick and cheeky answers to questions the teacher asked. In one sketch, the teacher asks: "Bottler, what are you doing?"

Bottler tells him he is "writing a letter" addressed "to myself."

The teacher replies; "What's in the letter?"

"I don't know because I won't get it til Friday," Bottler says back, leaving the audience in fits of laughter.

The character was later the focus of a 2013 TV3 animation film, 'Bottler', written by Noel Kelly.

Brendan Grace Bottler.jpg
Brendan Grace as Bottler

2. His 1975 hit 'The Combine Harvester'

Grace's tongue-and-cheek cover of Melanie & Brand New Key's 'The Combine Harvester' flew straight up the Irish music charts in 1975. The song, which became a number one UK hit for the Wurzel's a year later, was one of many fan-favourite songs from the comedian. His other hits included 'The Dutchman' (1978), and 1994 hit, 'Ring of Fire (Curry Version)'.

3. His role as Fr. Fintan Stack from 'Father Ted'

Grace appeared as Fr Fintan Stack in the  ‘New Jack City' episode (episode nine, season two) of Father Ted in 1996. Speaking to RTÉ about the role, Grace admitted he wasn't a big fan of the sitcom before making his debut, saying; "When Father Ted first came on, I wasn’t really a fan. I’m not sure I had watched it at all, but there was a part on offer so I went along for the reading.

"Some very well known actors also went along but mine was picked up because of the way I portrayed him. I put a different spin on Father Stack, making him more passive aggressive and that’s what the writers wanted."

"From that day to this, I get hundreds of people who come up to me and ask me to recite a line of Father Stack’s into their phones. Some of these people never heard about Bottler; some of them probably don’t know I’m Brendan Grace, but they all know about this dreadful, sarcastic priest," he added.

4. His role in Moondance and Killinaskully

Fans will remember Grace's role as Murphy in Moondance (1994), and his later role as Big Sean in Killinaskully where he appeared alongside co-stars Pat Shortt and Joe Rooney.

5. The 'Brendan Grace - Funny Man' documentary

RTÉ documentary, Brendan Grace - Funny Man will be repeated at 10.15pm on RTÉ One tonight. Speaking about the documentary, director Brian Reddin told the Irish Film and Television Network; "It’s been a real joy making this documentary on Brendan. He gave us total access to his life and didn’t hold anything back. Nothing was off limits. He allowed us film whatever we liked.

"In a first for me as a documentary maker, everyone we asked to be in it agreed immediately."

Brendan Grace

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