The highly-anticipated ‘Father Ted’ musical, entitled ‘Pope Ted,’ was axed due to anger from the trans community. The storm of controversy surrounding the show’s co-creator, Graham Linehan, was to blame. The beloved ’90s sitcom, ‘Father Ted,’ which brought laughter to countless viewers, became embroiled in a battle between Linehan and trans-rights activists. This ultimately led to the musical’s untimely demise.
Linehan, known for his witty and irreverent humour, achieved fame as a writer for beloved shows like ‘Black Books’ and ‘The IT Crowd’. His co-creation of ‘Father Ted’ endures as a beloved classic, celebrated for its clever Catholic Church satire.
Father Ted Becomes Victim Of Cancel Culture
In a candid interview with the BBC’s Stephen Nolan, Linehan pulled no punches. He revealed his outspoken views caused unrelenting turmoil that devastated his career and personal life. Linehan lamented, “My original bet was that the Ted musical was too big to fail. I simply thought, if they come after it, then that will be good because then people will see how crazy this is, how absurd and how censorious, how anti-female, how homophobic that this movement is.”
Linehan went on to express his frustration that the show’s producers had “rolled over” to the demands of campaigners, leading to the cancellation. Rehearsals had already commenced despite all of this.He also emphasised the musical’s readiness, praising Neil Hannon, of The Divine Comedy fame, for crafting “some of the best music you’ll ever hear” for the production.
“We have songs for every character, we have a great story, it was ready to go,” Linehan passionately declared. “And just because a group of people have decided that anybody who speaks up against this ideology is evil, they’ve just kind of rolled over for those people. No one is standing up for me.”
Linehan Comes Out Fighting
Linehan’s case brings the destructive force of cancel culture into sharp focus. “Every comedian at the moment is living under a kind of state of permanent blackmail,” Linehan observed. “Every comedian knows that if they step on the wrong side of any particular line, it could be this or it could be any other number of things, there are a few hot-button issues where you have to follow a certain line, and if you don’t, you’ll be destroyed.”
Indeed, Linehan has been no stranger to cancel culture. In 2020, he was permanently banned from Twitter due to tweets deemed transphobic. In 2018, he received a verbal harassment warning from the police due to fiery online disputes with a transgender individual.
Notably, Linehan acknowledged that his uncompromising stance had cost him his career and his marriage to Helen Linehan, the writer of the hit series ‘Motherland.’ Nevertheless, Linehan remained resolute, stating, “The one thing about this that keeps me going is that I know I’m right. Sometimes something is so wrong that you have to say something, and if I didn’t say something, I’d go mad.”
The Deafening Silence of Showbusiness
Frustratingly, Linehan revealed that the entertainment industry had failed to rally around him. He lamented, “I’ll tell you why other comedians won’t stand up for me even if they agree with me. Every comedian at the moment is living under a kind of state of permanent blackmail.”
In a parting shot, Linehan humorously remarked, “I’ve been thoroughly cancelled. I’ll tell you how cancelled I am. There were two programs called ‘Cancelled,’ and I wasn’t on either of them… that’s how cancelled I am.”
In the wake of the ‘Father Ted’ musical’s cancellation, questions about freedom of expression and cancel culture remain. The legacy of ‘Father Ted,’ now stands as a symbol of the turbulent times in which we live.