I’m not great at coming up with character names, but I do want to share the story of one of the names from Unicorn City.
I used the name not because there’s any connection between Unicorn City and Father Ted, but because of Morgan’s story. For most of his career, he was kind of a journeyman actor and comic, making a career but never really gaining widespread acclaim or true stardom.
Then came Father Ted, which changed that. The show was and is considered to be amongst the best British shows ever made. (Well, Irish. But it was produced for Channel 4, which is British, so…) And with that acclaim, Dermot Morgan’s star rose.
And then, literally the day after finishing the recording for the last episode of the series, Morgan died.
So was Dermot Morgan the beloved Father Ted Crilly or just some comic who worked for a long time before having a big hit? Both and neither, I suspect. What I take from the story is that there’s a real limit to how much you can control what other people think of you—or, perhaps more accurately, how much you have the ability to get them to think of you at all.
That’s perhaps annoying—it would, after all, be terrific to have some easy, or at least, clearly labeled path to fame (or at least its benefits). But there’s also a certain freedom to it: You don’t worry too much about what other people think, because it’s a waste of energy and life. And you do get to genuinely enjoy what you’re doing.
Dermot Morgan didn’t magically develop the talent needed to have a big hit the day before he started on Father Ted, I’m sure. So anyone who ignored him before that, well… they really don’t matter much, do they? And in the face of indifference… it doesn’t matter much either. I’m glad to be doing what I’m doing, and I’m proud of it, and other people will recognize it or not.