eagerly awaited Killinaskully series, began its run on Sunday with the
broadcast of the series first instalment. IFTN spoke to the series producer,
writer and star, Pat Shortt about the show.
The pilot episode, 'The German Fillum', was shown last Christmas and was a massive ratings success. Featuring one of Ireland's funniest men taking on the role of easily recognisable characters from everyday Irish life, the comedy drama follows the antics of the Killinaskully community and welcomes many new characters to the show.
Pat Shortt is one of Ireland’s most popular comedians with a huge following across the country. One might wonder what took him and RTÉ so long?
“I have been in development with RTÉ for about 3 years now with the idea of doing something for them. They kinda left it up to myself about what I would be interested in doing. Now, I’m not the type of person who would suit presenting a chat show or a quiz show or sporting game. I have been offered a load of them but I won’t go near them. I’m an actor and a comedian and that’s what I do best. So I came up with the idea of transferring some of the stage show on the screen and that’s where Killinaskully came out of, that’s why I am playing all the different characters like I do on stage.”
Shooting began during May 2003 in various parts of Limerick and Tipperary and continued for eight weeks. In ‘Killinaskully’ Shortt assumes many guises within the comedy, shifting easily from local teacher Mr Cantwell to the ever-scheming Dan the man to Gorretti, the formidable proprietress of the Mount Bernadette B&B, it is a marvellous showcase of Shortt’s talent, yet he was initially reluctant to accept so many roles in the series.
“I was wondering how many characters I would play and get away with. I didn’t want to play as many characters at first but as things developed RTÉ and the other writers thought I should play more characters, at the end I think I got the balance right.”
And how different was performing on camera to performing on the stage?
“It is because you are trying to make each character different, stage is much different to TV. You really have to make it very very different performance wise and body language to make it believable and sell it to the audience. Obviously people know its me, but you still have to make each character believable and that was the tricky part for me and I think it worked, I know it worked cause I have seen it cut altogether and the quality is there.”
After famously passing on ‘Father Ted’ is ‘Killinaskully’ a sign that RTÉ are beginning to take a few more chances with comedy on Irish television?
“RTÉ are always anxious to do something in comedy and they are always nervous to do something as well and getting ridiculed over it. In some ways I have a lot more experience than others in the comedy end of it. I mean I have worked on Father Ted and Ftiz on the BBC plus all the videos I’ve done and the shows over the year. So I suppose I have a good track record so it was a safe enough bet to go on me. (laughs) And still there is an element that it could all go horribly wrong but this should be the right conglomerate of people and it should work, I think it has worked.”
Catch Episode two of ‘Killinaskully’ this Sunday Oct 3rd at 8.30pm on RTÉ One.