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Ballykissangel is a BBC show which aired from 1996 to 2001. Peter Clifford, an English Catholic priest, is sent from England to work in a small Irish village named Ballykissangel. For three years, he tries to overcome the disadvantages of his nationality through community outreach, assimilation, and drinking a great deal of lager.
Cerebus Syndrome: The show starts out as a dramedy and gets gradually more serious.
Character Outlives Actor: By the time BBC Ulster got around to reviving the show for its final series, actor Tony Doyle had died. Rather than kill off a main character offscreen (because theirs was a milieu where Death Is Always Big Onscreen Drama) they concocted a bizarre storyline in which his character, Brian Quigley, had become a fugitive from a federal tax evasion charge and had fled to Brazil. If he ever returned to Ireland, he'd spend his retirement in the pokey. When the plug was finally pulled on the programme, Brian was (apparently) still alive and living in Rio, but Tony was still beyond waiting for his cue.
There is also a homage at the start of an episode of Father Ted, where as Assumpta falls for the newcomer Father Ted Crilly, Father Clifford is seen in the background, bags packed, trying to attract their attention to the fact he is leaving. All he gets is a cursory "bye" from Assumpta as she falls for Ted... (And then he wakes up in bed in the priests' house on Craggy island).
Downer Ending: Father Clifford decides to renounce his faith to marry Assumpta. Assumpta randomly gets electrocuted while mending a fuse box. Father Clifford's remaining faith is shattered, and he leaves forever, brokenhearted.
One Steve Limit: An unusual example, where shady politician Sean Dooley returns in the fifth season as Paul Dooley, presumably so the viewers won't confuse him with Niamh's new love interest, Sean Dillon.
Oop North: Father Clifford was a Manchester native.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Both leads leave after season 4. Father Clifford gets replaced by Father Aiden O'Connell, an ex-monk, and later Father Vincent Sheahan, an Australian. Assumpta gets replaced by Niamh in season 4 and then Oonagh in season 5 as the Fitzgerald's landlady. The Will They or Won't They? plots get farmed out to other pairings.
Suspiciously Specific Sermon: Played with in the episode where the village has gone nuts over the radio report that the jackpot-winning lottery ticket was bought in the town store. Everyone's trying like mad to figure out which of their number has suddenly become rich, with Quigley in particular trying to get them to invest with him. Father MacAnally, filling in for Clifford, gets fed up and delivers a hellfire-and-brimstone sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins, particularly lust and greed. But the sermon is short-circuited by one of the village kids coming into the church to reveal that the winner was announced to be a tourist from Dublin.
Vow of Celibacy: Naturally Father Clifford's vow is the main stumbling block in his relationship with Assumpta. He's trying to be a good priest and keep their relationship purely platonic, but by season 4 it becomes increasingly clear it isn't working. He eventually renounces the priesthood, only for Assumpta to have a Bridge Dropped on Her.