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Father Ted

Father Ted is a surreal 1990s television situation comedy set on the extremely remote fictional Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland. The scripts were written by Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan.

Mathews and Linehan originally pitched the series to the Irish networks but according to some reports they were wary of its stereotyped portrayal of the Irish, and so Mathews and Linehan decided to take it to the UK. An alternative explanation is that RTÉ had a poor record in producing sitcoms and comedy so lacked confidence in its ability to launch any sitcom. As a result, it opted not to pick up the options on any potentially controversial series, whether in religion, politics, sport or whatever.

In the event it was finally produced by Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4. Interior scenes were shot in London, although all of the location footage was shot in Ireland. Of course, once the series became a success it was happily screened on Irish TV.

In it, three disgraced priests preside over the parish: Father Ted Crilly (played by Dermot Morgan), the moronic Father Dougal McGuire (played by Ardal O'Hanlon) and the disgustingly drunken, lecherous and foul-mouthed, elderly priest, Father Jack Hackett (played by Frank Kelly). They have a housekeeper Mrs Doyle (played by Pauline McLynn), who is hell-bent on serving tea to all and sundry.

Their boss is the fearsome Bishop Len Brennan, (played by Jim Norton), who is responsible for Ted, Dougal and Jack's exiles, which were imposed on them for various reasons:

Also appearing regularly in the series are various parishioners, including shop-owners Mary and John, who whilst striving to appear sweetness and light to the clergy are in reality at each other's throats.

Although superficially about Catholic priests, the show actually deals with many different situations, often using the church as a microcosm of the whole of society, so including dishonest, corrupt and insane priests and nuns. This last detail has lead to the show being criticised as anti-Catholic, though most Catholics don't take such accusations seriously and many count themselves as fans of the programme.

The theme music for the series was written and performed by The Divine Comedy.

Three series and one Christmas special were completed. In addition Morgan and O'Hanlon in character hosted an hour of Comic Relief, during which Kelly made a brief appearance as Father Jack. Just after the completion of Series 3, Dermot Morgan died of a heart attack, aged 45.

Table of contents
1 List of episodes

List of episodes

Series 1

  1. "Good Luck, Father Ted" - A film crew offers to interview Ted. He wants to make sure they don't meet the other two.
  2. "Entertaining Father Stone" - The most boring priest in the world, Father Stone, pays his annual visit to Craggy Island. The title is a pun on the movie Entertaining Mr. Sloane.
  3. "The Passion Of St. Tibulus" - Bishop Brennan orders the priests to ensure a blasphemous movie being shown on the island is a failure.
  4. "Competition Time" - Ted, Dougal and Jack all plan to appear in the All-priests Stars in Their Eyes lookalike contest. Ted is particularly keen to beat his arch-enemy, Father Dick Byrne of Rugged Island.
  5. "And God Created Woman" - Ted finds himself falling for a steamy novelist. The title is taken from the movie And God Created Woman.
  6. "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest" - Father Jack dies after consuming a bottle of floor cleaner.

Series 2

  1. "Hell" - Ted, Dougal and Jack take their annual holiday.
  2. "Think Fast, Father Ted" - When Ted holds a raffle, he destroys the prize - a new car.
  3. "Tentacles Of Doom" - Three Bishops visit the island. A worried Ted gives Jack elocution lessons beforehand.
  4. "The Old Grey Whistle Theft" - Dougal starts hanging around with a rebelious priest, Father Damo Lennon. Meanwhile a valuable whistle is stolen. The title is a pun on the BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.
  5. "Song For Europe" - Ted is goaded by Father Dick Byrne into attempting to write a song for the Eurovision Song Contest.
  6. "The Plague" - The parochial house is infested by rabbits, just as the very rabbit-phobic Bishop Brennan plans a visit.
  7. "Rock-a-Hula Ted" - A feminist singer visits the island just when Ted is judging the annual lovely girls competition.
  8. "Cigarettes And Alcohol And Rollerblading" - In a game of one-upmanship with Dick Byrne, Ted decides the three priests must give something up for Lent.
  9. "New Jack City" - Jack's hairy hands get him sent to an old priests' home. Unfortunately his replacement is even worse. The title is taken from the movie New Jack City.
  10. "Flight Into Terror" - A flight back from a pilgrimage runs out of fuel and there are only two parachutes.

Christmas special

Series 3

  1. "Are You Right There, Father Ted?" - Ted's "Chinaman" impression goes down badly with Craggy Island's newly-arrived Chinese community.
  2. "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep" - Ted makes a large bet on the King of the Sheep competition. Unfortunately, Chris, his chosen sheep, has heard rumours about a sheep-eating beast and isn't feeling at all himself. The title is a parody of the 1970s song "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" by Blue Mink. There is a hidden pun in the show's plot - it's all about sheep worrying.
  3. "Speed 3" - this is of course a parody of Speed. When Ted and Dougal expose the philandering milkman, he takes revenge on his replacement, Dougal, by putting a bomb on the milkfloat. If Dougal's speed drops below four miles an hour...
  4. "The Mainland" - Ted wins some money on the horses and must travel to the mainland to claim it. This is a very bad idea. Even Richard Wilson doesn't believe it.
  5. "Escape From Victory" - Ted takes great steps to ensure he wins a bet with Dick Byrne on the outcome of the All-Priests Over-75's Five-a-Side Football championship. The title is a pun on the soccer movie "Escape to Victory", originally titled "Victory", about a soccer game played between prisoners of war and their guards in World War II.
  6. "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse" - the only episode to follow on directly from the previous one. Exposed as a cheat, Ted waits in terror for Dick to inform him of his forfeit.
  7. "Night Of The Nearly Dead" - The visit of a young singer causes excitement in the island's aging females. The title is a pun on the movie Night of the Living Dead.
  8. "Going To America" - Ted gets the opportunity of a lifetime, but can't bring himself to break it to the others that they're not invited. The title is a pun on the movie Coming to America.