Star Pupil

Father Ted, Drop the Dead Donkey, Vic Reeves, Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, Harry Enfield. The names of the stars and shows which this man has discovered roll easily off the tongue.

It is an impressive list, attributed to the impressive Commissioning Editor of light entertainment for Channel 4, Seamus Cassidy. Who is a most impressive past pupil of St Columb's College.

His memories of his alma mater are ambivalent, describing his years there between 1970 and 1977 as 'reasonably happy'. He happily admits that his college teachers would be 'among the people I would credit for any good fortune I've had.'

channel 4

Cassidy became involved in broadcasting whilst studying at university, taking part in a BBC youth series, 'Bout You.

He is suitably modest about the reasons for his success, 'They realised that I was a genius in the making, and gave me a full time job'. He qualifies this however with an acknowledgement that he expected he'd be 'back in Derry in six months'.

This type of comment is typical of the witty air he exudes throughout the interview. He claims that some of his college teachers were 'eccentric and unpredictable, and should never have been let near sharp instruments.'

However, the focus of any self-respecting journalist must surely shift to his glamorous position at the top of the television station which is by far the most popular with today's young people.

He admits with refreshing honesty that he passed up the opportunity of showing the Mrs Merton show, figuring that since Steve Coogan was doing the Alan Partridge series, the world didn't need two spoof chat shows. 'Clever boy', he adds.

He is surprisingly unwilling to divulge any top-secret changes to the schedules, but is happy to list some of his own favourite programmes.

He himself immensely enjoys the shows he has commissioned from ER to Frasier to Dark Skies, whilst only occasionally flicking to the BBC to watch shooting stars.

ER

Interestingly, the influence of the Irish abroad is greater than any of us could have expected. Apparently, this includes the producer, director, associate producer, the band and two of the researchers working on Seamus' latest project, Last Chance Lottery, presented by Paddy Kielty, another notable compatriot.

For those current College boys who wish to emulate his success, he advices to write shomething 'fresh, innovative or that hasn't been done before.'

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