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Fr Dougal's got a new hobby... death notices

Comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, who played Fr Dougal in the Father Ted series, is to talk about a curious aspect of Irish life for a new TV production.

Mr O'Hanlon will talk about Irish death notices in Guess Who's Dead.

The show will focus on the changing world of death notices.

He contends that Ireland has something of an obsession with death notices: in the newspaper, on local radio or online.

The programme states there is a uniquely ingrained cultural hunger for the bare facts of a death.

Death notices are also a symbol of Ireland's healthy attitude towards death, the programme claims.

When asked about his unusual broadcasting undertaking, the comic actor said: "It's not quite as sombre as it sounds. It's all about death notices and funeral culture in Ireland. It's fascinating stuff really."


RTE announced yesterday Guess Who's Dead, due to broadcast on RTE One on November 13 at 10.15pm, will be part of a new season of programmes on RTE One which will explore aspects of death in Irish society.

The month-long series of programming, entitled Once in a Lifetime, looks at body donation, death notices and the fascinating Glasnevin cemetery.

On October 30, a two-part series, A Parting Gift, begins telling the story of the body donation programme at Trinity College, Dublin.

Death and the afterlife also feature in returning series Joe Duffy's Spirit Level, beginning on November 16 at 5.45pm.

And on November 20, One Million Dubliners explores the stories surrounding Ireland's largest cemetery in Glasnevin.