Father Ted moves to the stage - with Craggy Island's finest becoming pontiff

Fr Ted is set to become a musical
Seanín Graham

CULT Irish sitcom Father Ted is returning in the form of a musical - with the eponymous priest becoming pope.

The award-winning programme's original co-writer Graham Linehan announced on Twitter that 'Pope Ted' would be taking to the stage and was "almost written" by himself and Arthur Mathews.

Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy will be responsible for the music.

"It's the real final episode of Father Ted," Mr Linehan said in a tweet to his 700,000 followers on Saturday,

The hit Channel 4 show - which ran between 1995 and 1998 - was set on fictional Craggy Island and inspired an annual fan convention called The Friends of Ted Festival or Ted Fest on the Aran Islands.

In response to questions from fans, Linehan promised that the announcement was "true and not one of my stupid jokes".

Four actors featured in the original series: the late Dermot Morgan as Father Ted, Frank Kelly as Father Jack and Ardal O'Hanlon as Father Dougal, with Pauline McLynn playing their housekeeper Mrs Doyle.

Morgan died suddenly just one after filming his final scenes at the age of 45, after suffering a heart attack.

Kelly died aged 77 in 2016, 18 years to the day after his co-star's passing.

Linehan described the musical as the 'real final episode', adding: "I didn't want to do anything like this until the right idea came along, and when Trump won and Corbyn won [the Labour leadership] I kind of thought, 'Maybe Ted has a chance'.

Describing Ted as the "least qualified man in the world" to become pope, the writers promise some "shenanigans to get him into that position" in the Vatican.

"I think the shenanigans are entertaining enough that people won't mind," added Lenahan.

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