Irish Holocaust as Subject of Comedy Series? Here's How You Can Voice Your Objection

Screenwriter Hugh Travers is now writing Hungry, a sitcom about the famine commissioned by Channel 4 in Ireland.  Hungry came  came about after Channel 4 read one of the 31-year-old Dubliner's other scripts and gave him an open commission for a sitcom. “Any idea I wanted – which was a massive opportunity and at the same time, seriously daunting,” he told The Irish Times.

Why the famine? “Well, they say ‘comedy equals tragedy plus time’,” he says, laughing. “I don’t want to do anything that denies the suffering that people went through, but Ireland has always been good at black humour. We’re kind of thinking of it as Shameless in famine Ireland.”

This is an insult and an affront to the Irish, especially those who suffered, died or had to emigrate.

Here is the link to sign the petition to not allow the Irish Holocaust to become the subject of a comedy series! Please pass this on to friends and family also in order to gather as many signatures as possible.

Thank you.

Views: 2198

Tags: An Gorta Mor, Famine, Great Hunger, TV, Television

Comment by Joe Gannon on January 2, 2015 at 11:18am

I had seen this and signed the petition yesterday, but I'm still having trouble believing that this isn't some sort of hoax, perhaps just a case of this writer saying something outrageous to see if he'd be believed. If that was the case though you'd think Channel 4 would be quick to squash the story. It's been out there for more than 24 hours though and as far as I know Channel Four hasn't yet denied this is being contemplated. I just looked at the Channel Four website and I don't see anything there about this controversy.

Comment by Cameron William Robinson on January 2, 2015 at 11:36am

I was not a fan of the comedy series 'Hallo Hallo' set in WW2 occupied  France, not something one would think very funny. Needless to say I don't consider the Famine to be a subject for hilarity, Given the Irish sence of humour they probably used humour to help them through its dark days. However it is one thing for people of the time, but this does not allow us to make humour out the plight of those who suffered.  

Comment by Melissa Martin-Ellis on January 2, 2015 at 11:43am

I agree with Joe Gannon's comment. I have signed the petition, too--but all the while a nagging voice in the back of my mind is saying, "WHAT? This can't be real, can it?"  I know humor springs from dark places sometimes but The Great Hunger was a holocaust for the Irish and I can scarcely believe anyone would find a show like that entertaining, any more than we'd love to yuck it up over the Death Camps of WWII. Channel 4 better get into damage control mode pretty quickly, I predict a horrible backlash.

Comment by Richard R. Mc Gibbon Jr. on January 2, 2015 at 2:54pm

A comedy about the Famine, wait now maybe we are jumping the gun a wee bit. Maybe it is a comedy about the "clowns" in the British Government during the famine and their response to the event in Ireland. More of Dean Swifts satire might be what they are looking to use?? Or Monty Python's "If there is famine in Ireland it must be tea time in London" sounds like a hit to me ;-) Slainte!

Comment by Neil F. Cosgrove on January 2, 2015 at 4:37pm

Sadly, I fear this is all too real.  Mr. Travers the writer of this monstrosity appears to be one of those "artists" who confuse insensitivity and bad taste with originality.  His previous claim to fame was a production called "Lambo" about the murder of a lamb resulting in a "Wag the Dog" sort of scandal.  British Chanel 4 is playing up the fact that the writer is Irish, I guess in much the same way that Lord Haw-Haw was English. 

Comment by Kelly O'Rourke on January 2, 2015 at 4:50pm

Ok, I'm a little scared, but I'd like to bring in a counter-point here...Should we possibly wait to see how this is handled before we advocate censorship?  It might be a tactless mess...or it might be great dark comedy.  The truth is that none of us know, because it hasn't even been created yet.  Hogan's Heroes was set in a POW camp during WWII.  I don't think they were trying to say that the Holocaust was funny.  MASH was set during the Korean War, and don't tell me you didn't laugh at the Monty Python gags set during the Black Plague!  I've also seen good dark comedy set during The Troubles (An Everlasting Piece).  Let's wait and see.  Like any piece of art, this show will stand or fall on its merits.

Comment by Richard R. Mc Gibbon Jr. on January 2, 2015 at 5:16pm

Kelly, you are echoing what I stated a couple of hours ago, lets not jump the gun. With all the "stuff" we Irish have had to suffer through under John Bull in the name of civilizing us; and what we individually have had to survive through in our own lives and stories,.. I would think that we have developed a hide that is impervious to almost anything. Once we see what it is that someone is trying to pass off as a comedy then we have suitable grounds to proceed in what ever direction we would like to take. As for me I am going to pick up me guitar and entertain and educated my son on our Irish culture. Slainte!

Comment by Joe Gannon on January 2, 2015 at 6:32pm

We have the a TV network in the country that brought the famine to Ireland possibly making a comedy about it, whether writer is an Irishman or not. Would German TV possibly think about putting on a "comedy" set in a Jewish death camp? If there was any respectable way to make such a show about the Great Hunger in Ireland (and I certainly don't think there is), it would certainly have to be Irish TV that did it. For UK TV to do it just not acceptable. And Kelly, Hogan's Heroes was a POW camp. It had nothing to do with the Holocaust at all. To be comparable to this it would have had to have been set in Auschwitz and had a new cast every few shows because the other cast had died of exhaustion or been gassed. I don't think you could wring humor out of that. But I certainly don't think this show is ever going to see the light of day anyhow.

Comment by Neil F. Cosgrove on January 2, 2015 at 6:52pm

Kelly I don't think anyone is advocating censorship, but I think like all rights freedom of speech has to be exercised responsibly and with sensitivity.  It is hard for me given the historical facts and the terrible cruel death that starvation is to see how a comedy entitled "Hunger" set in a time of famine can be funny.  What would be next I wonder?  Would we be having Benny Hill style  Nazis running around a WW II village to the sound of "Yackty Sax" finding Jews hiding in the most absurd of locations?  Would we have a Monty Python-esque Crew of an African Slave ship having a contest to see which dead bodies they could fling the farthest (as happened in real life, the same ship set could then double as a famine coffin ship)?  Please understand I do not mean this in a demeaning way to your point, just showing how far this sort of abomination can go.  I think we are certainly within our rights of free speech to express our outrage.

As I recall Prisoner of War and Jewish groups did protest Hogan's Heroes I believe they were a factor in the shows cancellation.  MASH to me is personally embarrassing:  As a kid I remember telling my father what a funny show it was and was somewhat taken aback when he uncharacteristically  snapped at me "I lived MASH and there was nothing funny about it".  It wasn't till years later when I found out he was a Navy Corpsman assigned to a Marine platoon on Iwo Jima and Okinawa that I realized what an idiot I was.  I have not watched the show since.  

Comment by Fiona Harrison on January 2, 2015 at 7:22pm

I've resisted commenting on this subject but I am outraged that such censorship would even be considered in 2015. It would seem that the world has gone mad angry at this idea and claimed that he (the writer) is out to make a mockery of Irish history but ... I dunno. I remember watching Black Adder and learning loads through humour. I remember watching Father Ted and between the jokes there's a real 'dig' at what was going on and I remember that Irish comedian who outraged Irish people back in the 70's 'Dave Allen' ... and there was 'Hall's Pictorial Weekly' (now I'm going way back) but the point I'm trying to make is let's wait a while and see what this young man delivers. If it's as bad as people already believe it's going to be then by all means 'let him have it' and the guy will probably never be able to set foot in Ireland again! 
He's a Dublin boy and I'm sure he likes to visit home when he can. 
Remember Joyce was outcast for writing what the people didn't want to hear? Shaw was labelled a Socialist and practically demonised for his work! 
Let's wait - before we go rushing off to sign a petition remember the Water Charges and the Energy Charges that we need to keep focused on here in Irealnd - there are real issues that are having a real effect on people's everyday lives. Don't allow this to take up the newsfeeds ... it hasn't even happened yet! 
And who knows, it just might inspire a few conversations around the dinner table - and encourage a few more people to really take a look at what happened ... how bad could that be? 

In the words of Father Jack ... "Feck Arse Drink Girls" - there was a time when that would have been censored! 

What if we got behind the writer and supported him? 
What if we sent him facts that he might not be aware of and he was able to weave it into the storyline? 
What if he comes to Ireland to film in areas where different events took place? 
What if he uses the sitcom to tell the truth? 
Should we deny him that opportunity?


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