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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 October, 2004, 09:24 GMT
Doyle rules out Commitments sequel
The Commitments
The Commitments are now a real band
Irish author Roddy Doyle has said he will never write a sequel to his book The Commitments - either in print or as a film - despite a number of lucrative offers to do so.

The book, which was made into an award-winning film in 1991 by Alan Parker, centres on a soul band - The Commitments - formed by a group of white working-class Dubliners in the 1980s.

The book ends with the band splitting up on the verge of major success. The success of both the book and the film have prompted a number of offers to Doyle to explore what could have happened next - but he told BBC World Service's The Word programme he was insistent this would never happen.

"I'm always wary of sentimentality, and I think if the band had reformed, it would have been very sentimental," he said.

"I've been asked to write sequels for The Commitments - for the movie especially - and it isn't in any way a temptation, because I think it would just be from the first frame overly sentimental."

'We love failure'

The Commitments was originally published by Doyle himself in 1986. It was the first of Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy - succeeded by The Snapper and The Van - with the same family linking all three books.

Since the film was released, two of its stars - Kenneth McCluskey and Dick Massey - have toured globally as a real life band, called The Commitments.

Roddy Doyle
There is a sense that we do enjoy our failures
Roddy Doyle
Doyle insisted, however, that the story he wrote ends with the band's members going their separate ways.

"It's a better story if they break up," Doyle insisted.

"I don't think it would be as enjoyable if they went on became the biggest band in the world."

And he argued that, in part, this was because "we love failure in Ireland".

"During the Olympics we were soundly successful in winning nothing - until a horse jumped a few fences and we won a gold medal," he joked.

"But we were getting ready to wallow in that - we're Irish, we don't care, aren't we great.

"So there is a sense that we do enjoy our failures - which is why U2 has taken so long to get used to their 73rd year of global dominance. It's not naturally Irish at all. One of them was born in Wales, which might account for that success."

Class change

Meanwhile, Doyle also pointed out that although the central story would still work, after two decades of strong economic growth, many of the book's details would have to be altered.

Roddy Doyle
Doyle won the Booker Prize in 1993 for his book Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
"A lot of the lines in the book would have to change. When Jimmy says that the Irish are the blacks of Europe, Ireland is now one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, so we can't get away with that line anymore," he said.

"In the mid-1980s, it was there to be provocative and funny, but there was a certain truth to it that's no longer there."

Doyle has himself acknowledged this in his own work - his screenplay for the 2001 film When Brendan Met Trudy centred on a middle-class couple, rather than the gritty, poverty-stricken lives more prevalent in the 1980s.

He also pointed out that The Van was about an unemployed plasterer - and that "there's no such thing in Ireland now.

"Trying to find a plasterer who isn't either busy or plastered is very difficult."

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