Best to Binge Watch: Father Ted
Published by The Strathclyde Telegraph.
Timeless cult classic Father Ted is a quirky, kitschy ‘90s comedy (the brainchild of Graham Linehan who also created The IT Crowd) mixing the self-reflexive with absurdity, slap-stick, and digs at religious scandals and hypocrisies to create a truly original, stand-alone sitcom revived again and again by generations of comedy fans.
The Irish comedy follows Father Ted Crilly – the arguably sane one – living with the young, mind-numbingly dim-witted Father Dougal McGuire, elderly Father Jack Hackett – whose entire vocabulary consists of ‘drink’, ‘feck’, ‘arse’, and ‘girls’ – and their tea-and-sandwich-obsessed housekeeper Mrs Doyle. The four central characters live in the parochial house on the fictitious Emerald Isle in miniature, Craggy Island, where there are no local landmarks except a field that has ‘less rocks in it than most places’.
In the hilarious, surreal world of Father Ted, almost every character is a caricature with flamboyant, over-exaggerated features and mannerisms, from Mrs Doyle’s fierce insistence that everyone have a cup of tea – ‘go on, go on, go on…’ – to Bishop Brennan’s ever-angry, terrifying presence which exudes more of an image of Satan than a senior clergyman.
Spanning three series and a Christmas special, culminating in 25 episodes, Father Ted was relatively short lived but is jam-packed with countless golden moments of comedy. With episodes including: ‘Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse’, ‘Cigarettes, Alcohol and Rollerblading’, ‘Speed 3’, and ‘Entertaining Father Stone’, Father Ted is a show of calamity, unfortunate events, and sadistic yet light-hearted humour making the viewer’s sides split with laughter as we watch Ted’s failed attempts to get on television and live the American dream.
Iconic moments from the show include: a fresh-faced Graham Norton as Father Noel Furlong and his rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in a crumbling cave, a bomb on a milk float that’ll blow up when the milk float goes under 4mph, a whistle theft that rocks the island, the All-Priests Over 75s Five-a-Side Football Challenge Match, and – who could forget? – Ted and Dougal’s song for Europe, the incomparable, ‘My Lovely Horse’.
The show’s supporting characters also provide massive laughs with Father Larry Duff who has bone-crunching, life-threatening freak accidents every time Father Ted decides to give him a phone call; John and Mary who own the island’s only shop and seem like the perfect couple but fight like cat and dog when the priests aren’t looking; and Tom, the island psychopath who always wears a t-shirt saying: ‘I shot JR’.
Father Ted has also generated countless catchphrases from ‘down with this sort of this’, ‘careful now’ and ‘drink’, to ‘you were wearing your blue jumper’, ‘the money was just resting in the account’, and ‘is there anything to be said for saying another mass?’
As an ideal series to binge-watch on 4od, Father Ted – with it’s comforting, nostalgic, pre-millennial theme tune – is perfect for rainy days and lazy Sundays when all you want to do is curl up on the couch and have a bit of an ol’ farcical, ludicrous laugh.
What do you think of Father Ted? Let me know in the comment section below.