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Frank Kelly
Born Frank Kelly
December 28, 1938 (1938-12-28) (age 71)
Occupation Actor

Frank Kelly (born 28 December 1938) is an Irish actor, singer and writer, whose career has covered television, radio, theatre, music, screenwriting and film. He is best known for his role as Father Jack Hackett in the comedy Father Ted. He is the son of the cartoonist Charles E. Kelly. He is also a huge Sisters of Mercy fan, and the 1980's Goth Movement in the UK.[citation needed]




He has played a wide variety of roles in Irish theatre over many years, and he has toured extensively in the U.S. and Canada.


His first ever role in film or television was as an uncredited prison officer in the classic film The Italian Job (1969), opposite Michael Caine as Charlie Croker. He escorts Croker down the stairs out of prison in the opening sequence of the film.

He appeared in the film Taffin in 1988.

He appeared in the film Rat in 2000, and also in the short film, Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom, in 2003.


He starred in the popular RTÉ children's programme Wanderly Wagon alongside Eugene Lambert and Nora O'Mahoney from 1968-1982, playing a number of different characters and writing many of the scripts.

Kelly's work on Hall's Pictorial Weekly (1970-1982) established him as one of Ireland's most recognisable faces. He memorably portrayed councillor Parnell Mooney, a send-up of a backwoods Local Authority figure in rural Ireland.

In the early 1980s he featured in the RTÉ TV show for Learning Irish Anois is Aris at the end of the programme speaking in a telephone, gradually putting in phrases in Irish.[1]

In 1999 to 2001 Frank also starred in Glenroe as Maurice.

In 2001 he played a priest called Father Pickle in the TV series Lexx, in series 4, episode 6 called The Rock.

He had a major role as John Smith, leader of the Labour Party, in the controversial 2003 UK Television drama The Deal.

In 2007 he acted in the TG4 political drama Running Mate, about an election campaign.[2] He also appears in the TG4 series Paddywhackery.

He does regular voice-overs and TV advertising work, and recently appeared with Mr Tayto in the recent popular campaign for Tayto crisps.

Father Ted

Despite his varied career, he is perhaps best known for playing Father Jack Hackett in the comedy series Father Ted, which aired originally in the United Kingdom in April 1995 and ran through until May 1998. Father Jack was an old and somewhat perverse priest who usually only says "drink!" "feck!" "arse!" and "girls!" Also for one episode when three Bishops come for a visit Father Ted teaches him how to say "that would be an ecumenical matter" in order to prevent him from insulting them with crude answers. For his role in Father Ted, he is said to have worn contact lenses (to show Father Jack's blank eye) and he said that people would not talk to him if he was in his Father Jack make-up.


He released a single, "Christmas Countdown", a comedy song based on the "12 Days of Christmas" carol, (penned by Hugh Leonard) which reached number 8 in the Irish Singles Chart in 1982 and peaked at 26 in the UK Singles Chart in 1984.[3], He also released an album, Comedy Countdown, which featured a sketch taken from his radio show, The Glen Abbey Show. The show which was on RTÉ during the 1970s came on at 2.30 pm each weekday.

Radio Comedy

Many of his popular radio sketches started with the sound of him putting coins in an old freckle coin box, and when the phone rang and was answered, his words were, "Hello! Guess who? Is that you Nuala?" Kelly would act the part of an English BBC reporter interviewing rural inhabitants about local customs, such as watching bacon being sliced, or "ha-hooing" (shouting a Rebel yell) competitions. Typically the village was called Ballykilferret and described by the BBC man as being in "the Republic of Eer-ah" (a mispronunciation of Éire, designed to annoy purists). A compilation of his sketches was released on a CD in about 2000.

Tracks included the Ayatollah Ceili Band, Magnum Farce, Incoming Call, Festive Spirit, Hymn Of Praise, Call Of The Wild, Festive Note and Siege Mentality.


Kelly won a Jacob's Award in 1974 for his work on Hall's Pictorial Weekly.


External links

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