The real Fr Jack Hackett

by Gazette Reporter
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He is best known as the cantankerous Fr Jack Hackett in Father Ted but the reality of Frank Kelly is very different, as The Gazette found when chatting to him about an average day in his life.
“I have seven adult children and 17 grandchildren and my unfortunate wife spends most of the year buying presents for family occasions of one kind or another. We’re all very close and surprisingly enough we all live roughly in the same area.
“I’m an early riser if required. Other than that I like to lie on but it depends on how busy I am.
“I am a breakfast person and I have wholesome food. My wife gives me slender porridge cereal with apple and cinnamon and a poached egg and toast and a cup of tea. I’m very well-minded.
“Then I do a lot of paperwork and like a lot of actors, I spend time at the kitchen table and I phone people everywhere who are all contacts of mine. I consider myself a one-man business as an actor.
“Of course, I use my agent but if you don’t get your ass in gear and contact people and keep your contacts alive they’ll forget. It may seem like self-promotion but it’s just like work.
“I also pay bills and have to answer enquiries and I get a great deal of fan mail for Father Ted, all of which I religiously answer. They send off for autographs too, so I do that and it’s not for ego reasons.
“I get fan mail from every part of the world. One of the most moving contact I had was from a young teacher who spent a winter with a very remote tribe of Indians and he was the only non-Indian in the place. He wrote to me telling me that tapes of Father Ted had kept his sanity… the amazing thing is its appeal has such an extensive spread.
“At lunch I work on my second book called The Next Gig and I’ll have a nice snack my wife has prepared for me.
“I go out for walks up over Killiney Hill and Dalkey for exercise. In the evening we’d go out by invitation mostly and I love the company of friends in the evening by the fire with good wine and then getting a taxi home.
“We watched Love/Hate recently and loved it. I’m over 50 years acting and my wife and I are 50 years married, which we celebrated recently in grand style in my daughter’s house in Foxrock. We both watch Time Team and late at night we’ll have a cheap snigger at Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross.
“We would go to bed at about 11pm as we have a dog and let her in and tickle her tummy, so we give her an innings for a while in front of the fire before going to bed.”
Frank Kelly appears in John B Keane’s Moll at the Gaiety Theatre from January 27 to February 14. Tickets, at €22.50, are available from the Gaiety Theatre booking line at 0818 719 388.

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