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Arthur Mathews (writer)

Arthur Mathews (born 30 April 1959 in Castletown Kilpatrick, Navan, Co Meath, Ireland) is an Irish comedy writer and actor who, often with writing partners such as Graham Linehan, Paul Woodfull and Matt Berry, has either written or contributed to a number of television comedies, such as Father Ted, Big Train, and Toast of London.

Mathews has written for other comedy series, including Harry Enfield and Chums.

Early lifeEdit

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 careerEdit


Mathews has contributed to many sketch shows, including Harry Enfield and Chums, The All New Alexei Sayle Show and 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 writing partnership 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 contributed to other British comedies such as Brass Eye, Jam, Black Books and later Toast of London. He later contributed sketches for Kevin Eldon, including the Amish Sex Pistols.[5]

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.[6]

In late 2003, the two men were named one of the 50 funniest acts to work in television by The Observer.[7]


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.[8][9] In January 2008, it began its fourth year of performances. He confirmed in 2018 that he and Linehan were working together on a Father Ted musical.[5]

Television appearancesEdit

Linehan and Mathews appeared (as characters similar to themselves) in Steve Coogan's sitcom I'm Alan Partridge as two Irishmen considering Alan Partridge for a television contract.

Mathews later starred in I Am Not An Animal, an animated comedy series about talking animals written by Peter Baynham.


  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. ^ a b "Big Train at 20 - interview with Arthur Matthews". The Digital Fix. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  6. ^ Peace and Love, Man Review of Hippies, Irish Times, 6 November 1999
  7. ^ The A-Z of laughter The Observer, 7 December 2003
  8. ^ I, Keano Still Has Fans in Raptures Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Irish Examiner, 31 January 2007
  9. ^ I, Keano – The Never Ending Story Edel Coffey, Sunday Tribune Review, 4 February 2007



  • Father Ted: The Craggy Island Parish Magazines (with Graham Linehan (Hardback – Boxtree – 18 September 1998) ISBN 0752224727
  • Father Ted: The Complete Scripts (with Graham Linehan (Paperback – Boxtree – 20 October 2000) ISBN 0-7522-7235-7
  • Well Remembered Days: Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memoirs of a Twentieth-century Irish Catholic (Paperback – Macmillan – 9 March 2001) ISBN 0-333-90163-0.[1][2][3][4][5]
  • Toast on Toast: Cautionary tales and candid advice, a spoof autobiography of Steven Toast. 2015 (with Matt Berry).


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

External linksEdit

  1. ^ A Side-Splitting Spoof Review of Well-Remembered Days, Terry Eagleton, Irish Times, 3 March 2001
  2. ^ It’s Not a Satire, It’s Surreal Review of Well-Remembered Days, Brian Boyd, Irish Times, 10 March 2001
  3. ^ Divine Comedy Review of Well-Remembered Days, Harry McGee, Sunday Tribune, 11 March 2001
  4. ^ Those Were The Days Review of Well-Remembered Days, Michael Clifford, Sunday Tribune, 18 March 2001
  5. ^ Thank You For The Days Review of Well-Remembered Days, Harry Guerin, RTÉ, 19 April 2001