Coming soon, an explosive new Irish sitcom

Share
Related Topics
I see they are at it again. Who are at it again?

The people who make all the money out of Irish comedy.

I'm not with you.

Surely you must have noticed the plethora of comedies set in Ireland? Ballykissangel and Father Ted and all those?

Oh, those. Well, you must set comedies somewhere. Why not in Ireland?

Oh, sure. But why now? There hasn't been a comedy set in Ireland for 30 years, and now suddenly they're coming along the airwaves like juggernauts on the motorway. There's Ballykissangel and Father Ted and The Mahaffys...

The who?

That's what I was saying. They're at it again. There's a new comedy series on Radio 4 this Wednesday called The Mahaffys. Here's what the Radio Times says about it. "Welcome to Tubberbiggle, a small town in the west of Ireland that is the scene of some surreal goings-on in this new comedy. The priest does a phone-in confession show for local radio..."

Tubberbiggle? Was that name made up by the same man who thought of the name "Ballykissangel"?

I don't know. But doesn't that summary remind you of something?

Yes. It reminds me of every other new comedy set in Ould Ireland.

Right in one. And why are they all set in Ireland? I mean, why are they all set in the Republic of Ireland? When did you last see a comedy set in Northern Ireland?

Ah well, that's different. Northern Ireland's a serious place. Can't joke about death and violence.

Oh, really? Did you ever see an episode of MASH?

Hmmm. So why are all these comedies set in the Republic of Ireland, since you ask?

Because it's another form of British colonialism.

Pardon?

All these comedies are manufactured by the English and inflicted on the Irish. They are visions of an unreal, long gone, simple-minded sunny Irish countryside which exists nowhere except in the innocent minds of English TV executives. Go to Irish writers and what do you find? You find gritty stories set by Roddy Doyle on Dublin housing estates. Go to reality and what do you find? You find Irish journalists being shot dead by Irish drug barons. You find corrupt and pederastic priests being shielded by the Catholic Church. You find 100 yards of good road being built by EU money which should have built 100 miles. You find...

Hold on a minute.

And it's always been the same. The English have always done delightful little unreal comedies in Irish settings. Somerville and Ross's Tales of an Irish RM, Spike Milligan's Puckoon ... But it was always a colonial view of Ireland. The Irish don't see it that way. The Irish have mostly found only tragedy in their own land, which is why we had Sean O'Casey and Samuel Beckett and WB Yeats and all those gloomy fellows. Most of them got so depressed by the place that they had to leave Ireland, leaving it free for fantasists like JP Donleavy to come in and misdescribe...

Hold on, hold on. What about the people you've left out? The comic Irish writers? Brendan Behan? Flann O'Brien? The JM Synge of "The Playboy of the Western World"?

Nothing very comic about that lot, deep down. Brush away the froth and foam from the top of a Brendan Behan play and you find a dark and bitter mix beneath. The Synge play is all about failure, not success. And so on.

So what are you going to do about it?

Ah! I'm glad you asked me that! I'm going to break new ground. I'm going to produce the first English TV sitcom with a Northern Ireland setting. And it's going to be set in an IRA cell!

WHAT! So all the characters are IRA members?

That's it. And in the first episode they plan to blow up the local McDonald's, like the McDonald's that was blown up in France last week, in St Jean- de-Luz.

But why would the IRA want to blow up a McDonald's and kill innocent people?

Ah! That's the whole point. Nobody is killed. The place is empty. It's the middle of the night. The IRA blow it up to gain intellectual respectability among all the chattering middle classes who hate burger chains...

Hmm. I don't know...

And the Northern Ireland Film Commission is offering generous start- up grants to any TV drama set in the province, up to pounds 40,000.

Ah! Why didn't you say so in the first place? And what are you calling this sitcom?

"Ballymurphybeamish".

Fair enough.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The bustling Accident & Emergency ward at Milton Keynes Hospital  

The NHS needs the courage to 'adapt and survive'

Nigel Edwards
 

Letter from the Sub-Editor: Canada is seen as a peaceful nation, but violent crime isn’t as rare as you might think

Jeffrey Simpson
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?