The actor Frank Kelly was best known as Father Jack Hackett, the demented, drunken old cleric bellowing “Drink! Girls! Arse! Feck!” from his armchair in the priests’ house on Craggy Island. But there was far more to Kelly, who has died aged 77. He had been a versatile television and radio star, stage actor, writer, satirist and singer in Ireland for more than 20 years before his breakthrough role in the classic Channel 4 series Father Ted (1995-98), written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews.
A gentle, urbane and analytical person, Kelly once told me: “Father Ted is not a lampoon of the church at all. It’s a dysfunctional little family, and it’s a very convenient umbrella to bring these people together under. Ted is a guy who