Mrs Doyle's Makeover
Dublin Book Festival 2010
Pauline McLynn is one of our national treasures. She came to popular attention as an actress in Ireland and the UK through a television series that has reached legendary cult status here and throughout the Irish community.
The series has made international stars out of practically everyone who had anything to do with it as it's a skit of three priests living in an isolated island community off the west coast of Ireland. It starred Dermot Morgan as its main protagonist parish priest Fr Ted, Ardal O'Hanlon as sidekick Fr Dougal, Frank Kelly as a retired elderly priest who has sunk into poor hygiene, a choice turn of phrase, and an obsession with alcohol, profanity and women.
It had originally been rejected as a series by our national broadcaster, was taken up by Channel 4 in the UK (which is aired in Ireland) and grew in popularity simultaneously in the two countries. Since then it's gone on to attract fans worldwide, with an annual Father Ted holiday week in the west of Ireland attracting droves of fans from every corner of the world.
Pauline McLynn played Mrs Doyle, the priests' housekeeper whose character's catch phrase was "Ah go on, go on, go on, go on......" She was only ever seen in a shapeless pinny (housewife's apron), had ghastly hair, and a vacant personality apart from her efforts to keep the lads' house clean. Her catch phrase came out of her attempts to Mammy the men she looked after. An Irish "Mammy" can be a mother who'll make sure you're eating enough, or aren't too shy to ask for seconds.
After the series came to an end, Pauline McLynn became a successful novelist of romantic fiction, the titles of which are below. (Incidentally, for a while there I had all but sunk into 'penny dreadfuls' as my mother used to call them, but am now thankfully, beginning to read back up the scale.)
She graced our screens again in a controversially funny television series called Shameless. This time she lost the hairy wart of Mrs Doyle and got a truly sensational set of lingerie to wear as her role is much meatier (she's playing the part of a late-blooming, nympho librarian). Shameless is far grittier in tone and is more of an urban drama than a comedy, so fans of Fr Ted won't automatically like the themes and topics raised in the series. But it is equal parts laugh out loud funny and sad, fast-paced and riveting drama.
The original UK series
The US version of the British show