Father Ted creator Graham Linehan slams decision to add ‘racism warnings’ to several episodes

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan slams decision to add ‘racism warnings’ to several episodes

FATHER TED creator Graham Linehan has hit out at the decision to add 'racism warnings' to several episodes of the iconic Irish sitcom.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Channel 4 had added advisory messages to two episodes of the show when accessed via the broadcaster’s online player, All4.

The alerts warned viewers about the presence of blackface and racial impersonations in two specific episodes of the sitcom, which originally aired between 1995 and 1998.

Speaking to The Times, Linehan, who co-wrote the sitcom with Arthur Mathews, revealed he had been unaware of the warnings but expressed disappointment at their inclusion.

The Dublin-born writer accused the broadcaster of pandering to the most "hysterical people in the world".

"Once they start they can’t stop and it’s going to make comedy impossible," he said.

"You don’t get comedy by painting everything in a rosy light — you have to make fun of things and people. There’s so many warnings for everything now, it’s just never ending."

Linehan added that he was surprised the show had not been taken off the platform altogether given Channel 4’s approach to comedy of late.

"You can’t make everyone happy," he said.

The warnings appear on two episodes of the show.

The first concerns the episode titled The Competition from the first series and relates to a scene in which a group of rival priests taking part in a talent show don blackface while performing as The Supremes.

"This episode was made in 1995 and contains a scene of blackface which some viewers may find offensive . . . This programme isn’t suitable for younger viewers," the warning states.

Graham Linehan

The second centres around the series three opener Are You Right There Father Ted? when Dermot Morgan’s titular character is caught doing an impression of a Chinese man.

In this instance, the alert reads: "This episode was made in 1998 and contains language and racial impersonation which some viewers may find offensive."

In a statement, Channel 4 said: "We have carefully reviewed the principles governing how we handle historic programmes across our platforms. In light of current audience
expectations, we have updated the viewer advice for certain episodes of Father Ted on All 4.

"No edits have been made to these brilliant and beloved comedy episodes and they remain available for audiences old and new to enjoy."

Morgan passed away in 1998, following the conclusion of work on the third series of Father Ted.

His son, Don, recently spoke out after the series was branded racist on social media.

"All my family have left of my father is his work and reputation," he said.

"He abhorred racism of every type and actively worked against it. Whilst insignificant compared to the suffering and upset of victims of racism, you might forgive me for feeling more than a little sad about this."