There's something disingenuous about comedians saying, `oh fame's so heavy'
Starting out as a teacher before moving into comedy, Dermot Morgan’s role as hapless priest Father Ted Crilly in Father Ted is TV gold.
Dermot was central to the show throughout three exceptional series that have barely been off TV since they were first broadcast. They are acclaimed among the top TV comedies ever made.
Dermot had already featured on TV in Ireland in comedy roles of his own devising – including a self-consciously with-it priest, called Father Trendy. He also fronted a satirical comedy show and was a hit on the stand-up comedy circuit, before being cast as Father Ted in 1995.
It had been a hard-earned slog to fame and although Dermot sometimes wearied of people asking him to hear their confession. “I only handle the heavy stuff,” he’d say, telling them if you’re a member of the Conservative party I’ll hear it, but if you’ve just been stealing from your mother’s purse, forget it.
“But it’s ungrateful,” he added, “to bellyache about the effects of fame if you actively sought it.”
The third series of Father Ted was always intended to be the last and Dermot was looking forward to other projects including a new sitcom and the writing of a BBC drama.
Dermot died of a heart attack during a party to celebrate the completion of filming the final episode of Father Ted. In an odd coincidence, actor Frank Kelly, who played the foul-mouthed Father Jack Hackett in the show, died on this day in 2015, exactly eighteen years after his Father Ted co-star.
Both are sorely missed.