Irish comedian Shane Langan has said it was ‘surreal’ to work on new sitcom The Walshes with Father Ted creator and writer Graham Linehan.

Langan is part of the Diet of Worms comedy troupe who teamed up with Linehan – also behind hits such as Black Books and The IT Crowd – for a show that debuts tonight (Thursday) on RTÉ One at 10.15pm.

“Graham was one of the people we would've really looked up to,” says Langan. “It was quite an experience to work with him as he co-wrote The Walshes with us and also directed it.

“It was surreal, but we also had to get on with it as there was work to be done. But every now and again you’d be looking at him and almost pinching yourself. It really is a dream come true for us.

“We've been working together for the last ten years and did the odd bit of television – bits and bobs. But this is the first series we've ever been involved in and it’s very exciting.”

As the title would indicate, The Walshes is about a family. They’re based in the fictitious West Dublin suburb of Strollinstown, and originated in a Diet of Worms online series called Taste of Home.

“They're a family who are challenged financially and they all have to live together under the one roof,” Langan explains. “That’s okay for the son Rory, as he’s quite happy to live at home.

“But it’s a bit different for Ciara, the daughter. She longs to be independent from her parents and to go live a more cosmopolitan life, but can’t afford to.”

And that’s where Shane comes in – as Ciara’s boyfriend Graeme. In the opening episode she introduces him to the rest of the Walshe family. It’s going to be an experience for Graeme.

“The Walshes are loud, and not in the least bit understated,” says Langan. “Graeme, on the other hand, is quite quiet and more intellectual.”

With the three episodes of the debut season in the can, all Langan can do is wait to see how it goes down with viewers, both at home on RTÉ and when it’s shown on BBC in the UK.

“We hope people enjoy it,” he says. “It’s obviously a big moment for us and hopefully it’ll get well-received.”

The Walshes is on RTÉ One tonight (March 6) at 10.15pm. Here’s a clip: