Irish comedian ARDAL O'HANLON was in the running to become the next Pope following the death of JOHN PAUL II in 2005 - after his TV priest alter ego was tipped at 1,000 to one to land the post. The 42-year-old Father Ted star, who played Father Dougal MCGuire in the hit comedy, was listed as a contender to become the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But O'Hanlon lost out on the role to Joseph Alois Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He says, "There I was, alongside Benedict and all the other Cardinals who were tipped for Pope - although Dougal's odds were 1,000 to one. Quite a few Irishmen had a flutter, even though it was a fictional character they were betting on. If you offer an Irishman odds of 1,000 to one he'll have a bet on anything!"