Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Writing Father Ted Was like Being Hooked Up to a Drip Full of Endorphins"

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

"Writing Father Ted Was like Being Hooked Up to a Drip Full of Endorphins"

Article excerpt

Graham Linehan, 49, grew up in Dublin. With Arthur Mathews, he wrote sketches for programmes such as "The Fast Show", for which they created the characters Ted and Ralph. Linehan followed his and Mathews's sitcom "Father Ted" (1995-98) with projects including "Black Books", "The IT Crowd" and "Motherland", written with his wife, Helen, and Sharon Horgan.

What's your earliest memory?

Being naughty by eating jam out of the jar, while at some sort of nursery in someone's home. I gave that moment to Father Ted's Eoin McLove and Father Dougal eventually. "Don't eat jam out of the jar!"

Who is your hero?

Stephen King. His early novels made school bearable.

What was the last book that changed your thinking?

The opening chapters of The Information by James Gleick. When it got into the code breakers and beyond, my poor brain had to escape through a hatch but the stuff on language at the start is astounding.

What political figure, past or present, do you look up to?

Nazi hunters. Hanns Alexander apparently drove around with the body of a dead Nazi strapped to his car. We need some of that spirit today.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

They ask me to do it from time to time but I wouldn't be able to resist telling John Humphrys to apologise for Today's producers lying to get me on air. Maybe "Ways in which the Today programme harms the national discourse".

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live? …

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