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Father Ted actor Dermot Morgan "under terrific stress" before death

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Father Ted star Dermot Morgan's former colleagues have spoken of the "terrific stress" the actor was under prior to his 1998 death.

Morgan won over audiences with his portrayal of the disaster-prone but well-meaning Father Ted Crilly in Graham Linehan's critically-acclaimed comedy.

However, the actor died suddenly aged 45 in February 1998, shortly after completing the third and final series of the show.

The cast of Father Ted

© Channel 4

Dermot Morgan in Father Ted


Morgan's co-stars Frank Kelly, Ardal O'Hanlon and Pauline McLynn told documentary Dermot Morgan - Fearless Funnyman of the high levels of stress the actor put himself under in the run-up to his untimely death.

According to Kelly, who played drunken Father Jack Hackett in the sitcom, Morgan "barely passed the medical tests" to film the third series and was "under terrific stress".

"He was never quite satisfied with what he was doing," Kelly said, according to The Mirror.

"The next thing was going to be infinitely better. I used to say to him, 'Settle down Dermot, we have a lovely show here. Let's just do it.' He felt that was unambitious."

The cast of Father Ted

© Channel 4

The cast of Father Ted


O'Hanlon, who portrayed hapless and naïve junior priest Father Dougal McGuire, suggested Morgan "didn't feel appreciated enough" for his role in the show.

He said: "[Dermot] was the only fully-formed character; the rest of us were caricatures, one note. But Dermot was the only well-rounded human being in the show.

"Dermot didn't always recognise how great it all was because like a lot of performers he was very insecure.

"But he didn't need to be looking over his shoulder and seeing what else was going on. He was doing something brilliant and spontaneous."

McLynn, who played housekeeper Mrs Doyle added: "He was a very frustrated entertainer. He wanted everything, he wanted it all and I'm sorry he didn't have it all because he would have enjoyed it, for a time anyway, until he had his next idea."

Kelly, O'Hanlon and McLynn have all enjoyed further success following Father Ted, with the actors going on to roles in Emmerdale, My Hero and Shameless respectively.

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