Father Ted star Pauline McLynn has paid a heartfelt tribute to Frank Kelly, who passed away over the weekend.
The two worked together on the classic Irish comedy in the 1990s along with fellow stars Dermot Morgan and Ardal O’Hanlon.
Kelly passed away on February 28th – the same date as Morgan had died 18 years earlier.
McLynn, who played the housekeeper Mrs Doyle in the show has revealed how much Kelly meant to her.
She told Anton Savage on Today FM: “I knew I was going to cry. Bloody hell. He’d kill me if he heard this!”
“For us now to have lived at a time when we could have a bit of him we don’t know our luck. I really don’t believe we will see his like again.”
Kelly played the angry drunk Father Jack in the show, but away from the camera he was regarded as a gentleman by all who met him.
McLynn said that she was delighted to learn that she would be working with Kelly when she landed the job on Father Ted. He was one of her heroes as she had been a big fan of his earlier work such as his show Hall’s Pictorial Weekly, which aired in the 1970s.
She spoke about his comedy talent and revealed how he made the rest of the cast laugh while they were on set.
She said: “In many ways I wonder if we [McLynn, Morgan and O’Hanlon] were just the set up people while he did the gags because always at the end of anything you’d work really hard at he’d walk off with it all, with something from Father Jack’s chair.
“He would use his brain to keep himself amused and to make up in particular the filthiest Limericks that were the cleverest things, not only too clever for me to remember, but also you could not say them aloud. He’d sidle up every so often and give you five lines of such brilliance.”
McLynn also told a heart-warming and romantic story about how Kelly defied his priest to marry his wife Barbara.
“He told me that his local priest and clergy in general did not approve that he was going to marry Barbara because she already had a family and he was hauled over the coals and brought to meet them and talk about it and they said, ‘Why are you going to marry this woman?’ and he said, ‘Because I love her.’ And nobody spoke to them like that in those days.”
“And marry her he did and they had so many decades of happiness. My heart goes out to them, because they more than us — we mourn him as a nation, as admirers, those of us like myself lucky enough to spend time and work with him — their loss is so much harder because they had all of him.”