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The Dancing Priest In 'Father Ted' Was Nearly Played By A Very Famous Irish Actor

By James Fenton

May 5, 2018 at 5:03pm


Despite first airing in the 90s, Father Ted contains countless scenes which are still referenced on a daily basis. While everyone will have different favourites, there'd have to be place near the top for the 'dancing priest' scene from the series 2 episode Think Fast Father Ted.

The priest in question was inspired by the real-life Father Neil Horan who was famed for appearing at public events and generally interrupting sporing events. In the famous Channel 4 scene, Father Liam Finnegan is portrayed by James Benson as a priest who never stops dancing before (spoiler alert) it all gets too much and he meets his tragic demise. 

However, had things worked out differently, Benson may not have played Finnegan at all. 

In the DVD commentary featured in the below YouTube clip, creators Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews discuss the fact that a young Aidan Gillen originally auditioned for the role. According to Linehan, in a line straight out of Father Ted itself, Gillen became so embarrassed during the audition that he 'literally ran out of the room'.

Check out the clip below...

Considering Gillen went on to have memorable roles in The Wire, Love/Hate, Game Of Thrones and several other TV shows and movies we sense he won't have many regrets.

Got a taste for random Father Ted facts? We've got plenty more where that came from, all of which can be found here

READ NEXT: This TV Show That Was Broadcast On RTÉ Really Pissed Gay Byrne Off


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