Channel Four scrap plans for Famine comedy

Irish Famine eviction
Connla Young

A BRITISH TV station has shelved plans to produce a comedy series about the Irish Famine.

There was controversy last year after it emerged that Channel Four had planned to make a comedy series about the Famine which claimed one million Irish lives.

The programme, which was to be called Hungry, has been described by its Dublin based screen-writer Hugh Travers as being akin to "Shameless in famine Ireland."

More than 40,000 people signed an online petition urging Channel Four to drop the idea while the station said it received 890 "predominantly negative" responses to the script.

Several British MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn, who was subsequently selected as Labour Party leader, signed an early-day motion calling on the TV station to reconsider its decision to make the programme.

The motion stated that "a tragedy of this magnitude represents inappropriate subject matter for such a sitcom".

Protests were also held outside the channel’s offices.

It has been reported that Donna Matthews, Group Publicity Manager for Channel 4 said "there were no plans to air it," and that "we were very clear a year ago about Hugh Traver’s script, that this was a script commission – not a pilot or a series. Nothing's changed."

Historian Tim Pat Coogan was opposed to the programme idea.

"Murder, genocide, people dying, retching with their faces green from eating weeds, their bowels hanging out of them – no passage of time will make that funny," he said.

Mr Travers defended his decision to write the script.

"I don’t want to do anything that denies the suffering that people went through, but Ireland has always been good at black humor.

"We’re kind of thinking of it as ‘Shameless’ in famine Ireland," he told the Irish Times.

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