A new documentary to be broadcast next week is to reveal for the first time that firebrand Muslim cleric Abu Hamza was the comedy genius behind cult Channel Four show Father Ted.
Father Ted, starring Dermot Morgan, was set in Ireland and told the story of three Catholic priests and their haphazard lives.
For years it was thought the series was the brainchild of Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan but in the soon-to-be broadcast documentary, Mathews admits the whole show was Hamza's idea.
He revealed: 'Before Abu became famous for preaching in the streets, he worked in television and he came up with the idea of Ted, Dougal and Jack.
'He wanted to create a show that gave what he described as "a more realistic picture" of the Catholic church and all its wrongs.
'Back then he was just as radical but thought the right approach was peaceful education and not jihad.
'Abu was a real big fish of British television then and we knew he was on to something good - so Father Ted was born.'
Unfortunately, as the documentary tells, Hamza's idea backfired on him and the show was a massive hit for the wrong reason, collecting a cult following and making stars out of the cast.
Mathews continued: 'At best, people looked upon the show as more of a gentle comedic ribbing of the Irish Catholic Church and not the expose that Abu hoped for.
'He was totally crushed by it and after the first series he walked away, asking us to remove all trace of his name from the show's credits.'
Turned bitter by the failure of Father Ted, Hamza quit television and took to preaching to crowds of followers on the streets Britain, calling for the downfall of Western society.
'It's a real shame,' added Mathews. 'The last time I saw him, he was a different man - he had just come out of hospital after cutting off both his hands in a fit of rage when Father Ted was nominated for an award.
'To most people he's just some loony preacher but to everyone who was first involved with Father Ted he'll always remain the real brains of the operation.'