British TV defends controversial comedy
British TV station Channel 4 insisted on creating a situational comedy about the Irish Famine despite the public outcry.
Hungry is a comedy series reflecting the tragedy of the Irish potato famine. Irish writer Hugh Travers, 31, was given an “open commission” by Channel 4 after his radio drama Lambo. The writer reportedly selected the famine because “they say ‘comedy equals tragedy plus time’.” Hugh believed that this would be a good choice as “Ireland has always been good at black humor.”
Unfortunately, many critics do not see it the same way. A petition, currently at 6,000 signatures after only two days, calls for the series to be removed from Channel 4. Niall O’Dowd, a strong opponent to the Hungry comedy, insists that the idea is an abomination.
Tim Pat Coogan, a historian and award-winning author of the book, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy, compared the Channel 4 sitcom to holocaust humor. In a public statement, the historian said, “You really would have to be talking about making jokes about Belsen and Auschwitz and the gas chambers to make it an equivocal thing in our lifetime.”
Nevertheless, Channel 4 wants to move ahead. A spokesperson defended the comedy in a public statement: “It’s not unusual for sitcoms to exist against backdrops that are full of adversity and hardship… brilliant humor can come out of times of terrible hardship.”
Right now, the series is still in its writing stage and is not planned to air. Do you think Hungry could be a success?