Hard to believe that it's now 20 years since Father Ted first aired on Channel 4. To mark the occasion, the Guardian's Andrew Harrison has rounded up most of those behind the show (with Dermot Morgan, sadly, one obvious exception) to talk about its inception, goings-on behind the scenes and its legacy. His conclusion - "By setting out to lampoon that disappearing Ireland in all its ridiculous glory, Father Ted preserved it for ever" - sums it up nicely.
It's interesting that, according to Graham Linehan, "there's a lot of frustration about Ireland" behind the largely gentle humour. I'm inclined to agree with him that revelations about the Catholic church in recent years mean that Father Ted couldn't be written now: "you just couldn’t play the priesthood for laughs". Thankfully, at the time, you could - and the results were absolutely brilliant. Speed 3 remains probably the most tightly constructed half-hour sitcom episode I've ever seen.
(Incidentally, I don't suppose I'm the only reader to learn that Linehan and Arthur Mathews were the creators of The Fast Show's Ralph and Ted.)
(Thanks to Simon for the link.)