CORK production company CCCahoots is about to give out lessons in comedy with their new RTÉ sitcom The School set to be aired before Christmas.
CCCahoots have steadily built up a reputation as being one of the funniest sketch trios online with 10,000 fans on Facebook, a raft of viral videos and a smattering of TV appearances on Republic of Telly and other shows.
Tadhg Hickey, Laura O’Mahony and Dominic McHale have been together since 2014 and have brought their unique brand of character sketches to Youtube with skits such as Máiread Corkery, the Fenian who’s unlucky in love; a Cork couple who are the bane of doctors and driving instructors; and Finn, the toddler comedian.
Now, they are set to bring their unique off kilter comedy — that the Rubberbandits have aptly described as “pure clever” — to telly screens around the country with a series written, shot and produced in Cork featuring a cast filled with local actors. Principal photography has begun on the sitcom, an RTÉ mockumentary, about the lives of the teachers and students of fictional Co. Cork primary school named St Colmcille’s. The series is written and directed by Tadhg Hickey, with additional material by the cast.
Filming is taking place at Walterstown national school in Cobh with 65 pupils of the national school set to star in the show.
Frank Twomey of Bosco fame and Phillippa Dunne — who played one of the lead roles in Graham Linehan’s The Walshes — also have prominent roles.
Production is provided CCCahoots managing director Claire O’ Connell, with Ruth Carter of Hardy Bucks serving as executive producer, while American filmmaker Jonathon Ulrich of jBear Films is manning the set as director of photography and editor. There are high hopes for a second series and maybe even international syndication.
“We think our comedy could be suited to the UK. We’re all very ambitious so who knows,” says producer Claire. The show was given the go ahead by the head of comedy at RTÉ Eddie Doyle, who has been hugely supportive of CCCahoots since spotting their potential.
“What we’re doing is a mock documentary which is like School Around the Corner meets The Office,” said Tadhg Hickey.
“Eddie Doyle showed a lot of faith in us and wanted find a model for the comedy. We went through a ream of ideas and the thought of a primary school came up,” he added.
The children of Walterstown are set to steal some of the scenes with the main stars.
“We’ve done loads of stuff with the kids and they have made the show for us,” says Tadhg. “The type of comedy we love is off the cuff and there’s nobody better than children for that because of their wild imaginations.
“They come out with sheer gold. They’ve bought into this world of the show and the kids are talking about the characters with those names as if they are their own teachers.
“The main thing is to find a home where we can sit into these characters. They feel three dimensional and we’ve done so much sketch stuff where we have interesting characters but then they’re gone and we don’t return to them but now we have. The characters are all versions of ourselves. “It was always my dream to make a TV comedy. We’ve a good thing going and we’re all genuinely friends,” he adds.
The three part sitcom is due to air this winter as part of RTÉ2’s Christmas schedule.