Arthur Mathews (writer)

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Arthur Mathews (born 30 April 1959 in Castletown Kilpatrick, Navan, County Meath) is an Irish comedy writer and actor who, often with writing partner Graham Linehan, has either written or contributed to a number of popular television comedies, most notably Father Ted.

Early life[edit]

Mathews attended Castleknock College, a private school run by Vincentian priests. He then graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology with a degree in graphic design. He played drums in spoof U2 tribute act "The Joshua Trio" with Paul Woodfull, with whom he would later work on I, Keano. He worked as art editor for Hot Press, leaving in 1991 to move to London.

Writing career[edit]


Mathews has contributed to many sketch shows, including Harry Enfield and Chums, The All New Alexei Sayle Show and, notably, the Ted & Ralph segments of The Fast Show.

However, it was with Father Ted (three series, 1995–1998) that he and Graham Linehan made their biggest impression. It debuted on Channel 4.[1][2][3] The pair had previously co-written the comedy Paris[4] (one series, 1994), also for Channel 4.

Both Linehan and Mathews worked on the first series of sketch show Big Train, but Linehan dropped out for the second series. Mathews has also had a hand in other respected British comedies such as Brass Eye, Jam, Black Books and more recently Toast of London.

In 1999 Linehan and Mathews created the sixties-set sitcom Hippies, but the six-part series (which starred Simon Pegg and Sally Phillips) was written by Mathews alone.[5]

In late 2003, the writing duo were named one of the 50 funniest acts to work in television by The Observer.[6]


In 2005, Mathews, with Michael Nugent and Paul Woodfull, co-wrote I, Keano, a comedy musical play about footballer Roy Keane leaving the Republic of Ireland national football team before the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

It is presented as a mock-epic melodrama about an ancient Roman legion preparing for war. In its first two years, over half a million people watched it, generating €10m ($13m) in ticket sales.[7][8] In January 2008, it began its fourth year of performances.


Mathews has written three books:

  • Well Remembered Days: Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memoirs of a Twentieth-century Irish Catholic (Paperback – Macmillan – 9 March 2001) ISBN 0-333-90163-0.[9][10][11][12][13]
  • "Father Ted": The Complete Scripts (with Graham Linehan (Paperback – Boxtree – 20 October 2000) ISBN 0-7522-7235-7
  • "Toast on Toast: Cautionary tales and candid advice", a spoof autobiography of Steven Toast. 2015 (with Matt Berry).


Mathews has had two cartoon series published:

  • "Doctor Crawshaft's World of Pop", in NME (1992–93)
  • "The chairman", in the Observer Sports Monthly (2003–04)

Television appearances[edit]

Mathews has made cameo appearances in programmes he has written.

Linehan and Mathews also made a rare appearance in the sitcom I'm Alan Partridge as two Irishmen considering Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) for a contract. In the absence of a picture, Mathews is the fairer haired of the two in the scene mentioned (though according to the episode's commentary, this is a wig).

Mathews also starred in I Am Not An Animal, an animated comedy series about talking animals written by Peter Baynham. He voiced a rabbit called Niall who had had his brain replaced with that of a call centre worker.

Personal life[edit]

Mathews has supported Drogheda United since the 1970s.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Review of Father Ted Mary Cummins, Irish Times, 25 April 1996
  2. ^ Life After Ted Deirdre Falvey, Irish Times, 2 May 1998
  3. ^ Aran Islands in Father Ted Row RTÉ News, 21 January 2007
  4. ^ "Paris". British Comedy Guide. 
  5. ^ Peace and Love, Man Review of Hippies, Irish Times, 6 November 1999
  6. ^ The A-Z of laughter The Observer, 7 December 2003
  7. ^ I, Keano Still Has Fans in Raptures Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Irish Examiner, 31 January 2007
  8. ^ I, Keano – The Never Ending Story Edel Coffey, Sunday Tribune Review, 4 February 2007
  9. ^ A Side-Splitting Spoof Review of Well-Remembered Days, Terry Eagleton, Irish Times, 3 March 2001
  10. ^ It’s Not a Satire, It’s Surreal Review of Well-Remembered Days, Brian Boyd, Irish Times, 10 March 2001
  11. ^ Divine Comedy Review of Well-Remembered Days, Harry McGee, Sunday Tribune, 11 March 2001
  12. ^ Those Were The Days Review of Well-Remembered Days, Michael Clifford, Sunday Tribune, 18 March 2001
  13. ^ Thank You For The Days Review of Well-Remembered Days, Harry Guerin, RTÉ, 19 April 2001

External links[edit]