Series / Father Ted
This picture is just resting on this page before Ted moves it on.
An unhinged Anglo-Irish sitcom
by Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, about a tiny parish on a miserable little island off the coast of Ireland where the Catholic Church has sent three of its most embarrassing members: the embezzler Father Ted Crilly, the idiotic manchild
Father Dougal McGuire, and the drunken, violent, foul-mouthed skirt-chaser Father Jack Hackett. Their housekeeper is Mrs. Doyle, who is really
dedicated to serving tea
. The majority of episodes involved Ted's efforts to either get away from the island
or make a nice pile of cash
, neither of which he ever succeeded in doing
A cult hit in Britain and Ireland, the writers never planned to continue it beyond its third season. Star Dermot Morgan (who played Ted) died one day after finishing filming of the final episode, resulting in the common misconception that the show was cancelled because of this.
Flame wars can break out over whether the show should be considered Irish (its writers, cast, settings and exterior locations were all Irish) or British (it was produced by a British company for a British TV channel). Came eleventh in Britain's Best Sitcom
. It is very popular in Ireland
, regularly repeated on Irish television, and lines from the show are quoted about as often as Brits quote Monty Python
This show provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert:
- Jack on one occasion since he was sleepwalking at the time.
Brennan: What would the following describe to you; Jack, sleepwalking and bollock naked?
- Although Jack did seem to enjoy the notion, as when Ted admonishes him he gleefully cries "Nudey Father Jack!" The rest of the time he's a fully intentional pervert.
- Ambiguously Bi: Following on from this, as Jack sleepwalks (naked) into Bishop Brennan's bedroom and climbs into bed with him. He later wakes up, makes no attempt to leave and goes back to sleep with him. He was also a huge fan of the St. Tibulus film, which according to Dougal's account, has some gay sex acts in it.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Ted, at the drop of a hat, more than once.
- The Alcoholic:
- To describe Jack as this would be the understatement of the century.
- Guest character Henry Sellers is also this. A sip of champagne is enough to set him off.
Henry: Sack me? Sack me? I made the BBC!
- All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": "He got his lad out!"
- Ambiguously Gay: Father Noel. He's super camp, and played by real-life Camp Gay Graham Norton, but is merely characterized as being annoyingly hyperactive. However, Graham Linehan has claimed that Noel is in fact asexual.
- Ambulance Cut: When Jack wants a drink, it's best not to interfere.
- Annoying Laugh: Father Barty Dunne, as seen in "Competition Time", has a laugh that would not be annoying in itself were it not for the fact that he can't get through a single sentence without breaking down laughing, usually at things that everyone else finds mundane but that he finds hilarious. Four hours of having to listen to this endless, easily-triggered laughter in the car journey to the parochial house has taken its toll on Henry Sellers.
Ted: How long was the car journey-
Sellers: Four hours.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: When coming up with a plan to make some quick cash.
Dougal: Wait, I'm not so sure about this, Ted. It is a big step, and where are we going to get the guns?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading", although equally a reference to Brit Pop band Oasis's single "Cigarettes and Alcohol".
- "She was on her way to the shop the other day, and a man came over to her, and killed her, and stole her pen!"
- Ted listing examples of 'things that are wrong' might also count
Ted: Arson, there's one... murder... swearing.
- Artistic License – Geography: When Bishop Brennan indicates an island off the coast of Suriname on a globe, he points to somewhere in the centre of the USA.
- Barsetshire: Craggy Island.
- Badass Cape: Bishop Brennan wears one.
- Berserk Button:
- Ted learns the hard way never to say "I don't believe it!" in front of Richard Wilson.
- Bishop Brennan is very punctilious about the correct way to address a Bishop: "Don't call me Len, you little prick! I'm a BISHOP!"
- Never, ever, ever come between Jack Hackett and alcohol.
- Even Jack is terrified of Ted when the latter is drunk.
- Be Yourself: Ted makes the terrible mistake of giving this advice to Dougal.
- Big Entrance: Bishop Brennan makes an unforgettable entrance running towards the camera screaming with his 10ft-wide cloak billowing behind him once he figures out that Ted really did kick him up the arse.
- Bland-Name Product: Eurosong definitely isn't the Eurovision Song Contest. No siree. (In fact, at one point in the series, Ted actually uses the real name, not the in series one)
- Blatant Lies: Everywhere. "The money was just resting in my account," is a notable one, but a particular gem comes from a phone call between Ted and Brennan.
Brennan: Crilly, this is Bishop Brennan.
Ted: (in French accent) 'Oo eez zees? Zere is no Crilly eer!
- Boggles the Mind: Dick Byrne manages to spell out "useless, priest, cant, say, mass" in a Scrabble game against Ted.
Ted: Oh, I don't know how he did it! He must have cheated.
- Book Ends: The first exchange between Ted and Dougal in the first episode are "Morning, Ted!" and "Morning, Dougal!". The last episode ends with them saying "Good night" to each other.
- Boomerang Bigot: The woman who hates Greeks for inventing gayness is herself implied to be in a relationship with another woman.
- Brick Joke: Done both figuratively and literally in "Speed 3".
Jack: I LOVE MY BRICK!
- Amazingly, the brick itself is both literal and figurative, as well as being a Chekhov's Brick in that it returns again for a less humorous purpose and yet again for a humorous one.
- Britcom: There is a lot of debate over whether it counts as a Britcom or not - the show was a sitcom made for British TV by a British production company but almost everything else about it (writers, actors, setting) is Irish.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest closes with Father Jack looking towards the camera and telling the viewer to 'feck off'
- Bullying a Dragon: Father Jessop tries this on Father Hackett. His last known location was Jack's underpants hamper.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Father Dougal. Although Rule of Funny can make him a Hyper-Competent Sidekick just as easily.
- The Cameo: Father Brian Eno.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: One of Dougal's dumb traits, to the point that Ted has to make him a chart of things that do not exist. Entries include: Darth Vader, Magnum, P.I. and "non-Catholic gods."
- Caps Lock, Num Lock, Missiles Lock: A sewage lorry with two prominent buttons right next to each other: "Doors open" and "Evacuate sewage tank". What could possibly go wrong?
- Captain Obvious, Don't Explain the Joke: Ted explaining why Dougal's comments are stupid. Arguably a case of Rule of Funny; Dermot Morgan usually managed to wring some laughs out of the situation with his exasperated reactions to what Dougal was saying.
- Cardboard Boxes: Spoofed in the "Speed 3" episode. There's a big stack of neatly arranged boxes in the middle of the road, which Ted moves one by one out of the path of the milk float, then drives right through them with his own car.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
- Ted, to Dougal while trying to write "A Song For Europe". He'd been smoking and drinking a lot at the time.
- Also a pastiche of the Troggs Tapes.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading".
- Comically Missing the Point:
- Ted realises the babies entered into Craggy Island's Beautiful Baby contest all have suspiciously similar hairstyles to Pat Mustard. Dougal's first thought is that the babies are all copying his style.
- In the same episode, Ted presents Pat's manager with photographic evidence of Pat's indiscretions. Pat's manager responds by telling Ted how much he's willing to pay for the dirty photos.
- Also, this little gem from the episode "The Plague", regarding Bishop Brennan's phobia of rabbits:
Dougal: [shouting up the stairs] Ted, did Len find the rabbits?
Bishop Brennan: What did he just say?!
Ted: Ah, I can explain...
Bishop Brennan: Did he call me Len again? [shouting down the stairs] You address me by my proper title, you little bollocks!
- Compressed Abstinence: For Lent Ted decides to give up cigarettes, Dougal rollerblading, and on Jack's behalf, Ted makes a vow that Jack will give up drinking. After they can't go one day without succumbing they call in a specialist, who turns out to be quite insane, and eventually they do a turnaround and indulge these things to a greater degree than they did before.
- Compressed Vice: Dougal's passion for rollerblading is not mentioned outside of the episode "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading"; Linehan and Mathews simply thought it would be a funny "vice" for Dougal to have to give up for Lent while Ted gave up smoking and Jack gave up drinking.
- Confessional: Seeing as the protagonists are priests, it's a given.
- Continuity Nod: Near the end of "Entertaining Father Stone", Father Stone's parents show Ted a painting their son made of himself with a smiling Father Ted standing behind him with his hands on his shoulders as a mark of how much he looks up to Ted. The painting can be seen on the wall above the fireplace in the parochial house in Series 2 and 3.
- Corrupt Church: Many of the priests are dodgy characters with various shady dealings:
- Ted once inappropriated some funds from a sick child and went to Las Vegas with the proceeds. When he temporarily gets reassigned to a cushy parish in Dublin, he gets sent back after some irregularities in his expenses.
- Bishop Brennan has been having secret affairs and even has a secret son in America.
- Father Billy "The Spinmaster" is a gambling addict who steals the proceeds from a raffle to pay off his debts.
- Father Williams is caught with a box of guns in his house, implied to be for the IRA.
- "Remember Father O'Reilly? He's in Clare. They moved him after he owned up to that O J Simpson thing."
- Crappy Carnival: Craggy Island Funfair includes such attractions as "Freak Pointing", an ordinary ladder, and a cat spinning on a record player.
- Creator Cameo:
- Both Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan played various parts throughout the series.
- The show's producer, Geoffrey Perkins, provides the voice of the translator in "The Passion of St Tibulus".
- Curse Cut Short: A visual example. When Jack is left in a department store creche, he assembles his three favourite words in alphabet blocks. Cut to him with only one gap remaining, "F-CK", hesitating to put down a block with both an "E" and a "U" on it... but he's called away before he can decide.
- Curtain Camouflage:
- An episode where Ted and Dougal play hide and seek in a very small caravan.note
- Father Ted also hides behind a curtain when on the phone with a TV producer to hide from Father Jack in "Good Luck, Father Ted".
- Damned by Faint Praise: "I'd say Father that you might be the second best priest in the country!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Ted.
- Father Jessop, said to be the most sarcastic man in the country, naturally takes this Up to Eleven.
- Delayed Reaction:
- After getting kicked by Ted in the episode "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse", Bishop Brennan remains in a state of shocked disbelief for the time it takes him to fly to Rome for an audience with the Pope, at which point he finally snaps out of it with a roar of "He did kick me up the arse!". And then shoves His Holiness out of the way and rushes back to Ireland.
- Not to mention screaming "God damn it!" in the middle of the Vatican.
- After destroying a car that was sent to be raffled off, Ted is completely calm at first, then abruptly starts freaking out in the middle of the night.
- Delayed to the point of a Brick Joke in "Speed 3", when Dougal delivers milk to women expecting the usual The Casanova milkman, and walks away entirely oblivious to the fact that they opened the door entirely naked. At the end of the episode, he's just settling down to go to bed when he leaps up shouting "Those women were in the nip!"
- In "Flight into Terror", Ted is too pumped up by being in mortal peril to be scared as he climbs outside of the plane in mid-flight to fix the fuel pump. After fixing it and averting the crisis, he immediately begins freaking out as he remembers his fear of flying.
Ted: What am I doing on the feckin' wheels?!
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Alan: Well, it's been an easy decision. There's one out-and-out winner; and, rather than waste time with the speech, I'll get on with the job of announcing the winner, who, today, has come first in this competition to see who the winner is in the King of the Sheep competition that we have all come to today, wondering who indeed will it be who wins the prize of King of the Sheep. The winner of this year's King of the Sheep competition is...
Ted: Stop! This contest is a sham, and a fraud, and a... sham!
- Depth Deception: Dougal and cows.
Ted: [holding up a toy cow] All right, one more time. These... are small. The ones out there... are far away. Small. Far away. [Dougal shakes his head in bewilderment]
- Given a Shout-Out in the image caption in this BBC article.
- Also voted as one of the top 100 TV moments.
- A 2010 retrospective Father Ted documentary was entitled Small - Far Away.
- Didn't Think This Through: After Ted solves the mystery of "The Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep" he walks away victorious...forgetting he bet the entire month's heating money on Chris winning.
- Dirty Old Man: Father Jack; it's evidently what got him banished to the island in the first place.
- Distant Reaction Shot / Eskimo Land: Subject of a brief gag when the bomb finally goes off at the end of "Speed 3".
- The Ditz: Dougal, mostly. He doesn't even understand depth perception. He thought the cows he saw in the distance were actually really tiny cows.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season:
Organiser: Which one of you is Ted, and which is Dougal?
Dougal: I'm Ted, and he's Dougal.
Ted: What? No, no, I'm Dougal, he's Ted.
- Dull Surprise:
- Father Stone. He even underreacts after being struck by lightning. This is intentional.
- The priest with the boring voice in "A Christmassy Ted". Actually comes in useful to distract shoppers so that the priests can escape the lingerie section.
- Doorstop Baby: Subverted and defied in "A Christmassy Ted" when a woman leaves a baby on the doorstep of the parochial house, only to claim it back when she realises she's got the wrong house. Ted then considers all the hilarious japes they could have had if she had left the baby with them. Dougal then points out that it wouldn't have been THAT funny.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty:
- Bishop Brennan.
- Sister Assumpta, who comes over to assist Ted and Dougal with their Lenten vows in "Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Rollerblading". She bathes them in ice, replaces their mattresses with bricks, and shoots at them.
- Dumbass Has a Point:
- For all his idiocy, Dougal does occasionally come up with a plan or idea that genuinely impresses Ted. In Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse, he advises Ted that, if he pretends as though he didn't kick Brennan up the arse, the bishop will believe that he had simply imagined it. In fact, this plan works rather well. Ted would've gotten away with the whole thing, had His Grace not seen the blown-up copy of the photo taken of the deed.
- In another episode, when Ted is accused of being racist towards Craggy Island's new Chinese residents, Dougal tells him to hold a presentation praising Chinese culture, as a gesture of good faith. It may count as a subversion, though: when Ted asks Dougal to follow up on his brilliant idea, poor Dougal panics, as he didn't think coming up with a good idea would be so much work. And the Chinese family didn't actually enjoy the presentation, but they appreciated the free drinks afterwards.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Graham Linehan calls himself out on this in the scripts book, noting that the first episode they wrote - "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest", which aired as the finale of season 1 - has some rather weird out-of-character moments, like Ted reciting poetry and Ted and Dougal seemingly plotting to kill Jack at the end. The earliest episodes also feature a brighter parochial house, and a slightly cleaner Father Jack.
- Easy Evangelism: Somehow, Dougal unintentionally talks a bishop into abandoning religion. In a single (offscreen) conversation. Then again, the bishop was already having a crisis of faith.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: The people of Craggy Island.
- Epic Fail:
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: When Niamh Connolly is shown performing her latest song on tv, there's a woman using sign language to convey the song's lyrics for the deaf. About halfway through, she simply shrugs and gives up translating.
- Evil Laugh:
- Dougal, while holding the Golden Cleric Award at the end of "A Christmassy Ted".
- Pat Mustard the milkman. Ted sets down the telephone receiver when he starts Evil Laughing, and when we cut back to him (several hours later) later on he's still doing it.
- Dick Byrne. After managing to convince Ted that he is giving up cigarettes for Lent near the start of "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading", and encouraging Ted to do the same, he puts the phone down, lights a cigarette and starts laughing evilly.
- Evil Mentor: Father Jack, in "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest" was apparently one.
Ted: A friend of mine, Father Jimmy Rannable studied under him. He told me no one - no one - had so great an effect on him as Father Jack.
Dougal: Jimmy Rannable? Whatever happened to him.
Ted: Do you remember the Drumshanbo Massacre?
Ted: That was him.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The episode "Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse".
- The Exit Is That Way:
- A particularly unusual variant occurs with Father Dougal: he walks to the wrong side of an open door, missing an exit that is right in front of him. It's not clear if the writers knew it, but this is similar to a gag in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (involving Dopey, of course).
- In the Christmas Special when Ted, Dougal and several other priests try to sneak out of a lingerie section of a store that they accidentally wandered into so that it won't cause a public scandal, they hijack a P.A system so they can say the store is closing to lure out the shoppers. However when they start wandering around aimlessly...
Ted: (Hijacks P.A) NOT THAT WAY FOR FECKS SAKE, THE OTHER WAY!!!
- Exposition Diagram: Parodied and subverted in "Speed 3". The priests attempting to help Dougal out are drawing up various diagrams of plans to help out. After Ted has a Eureka Moment and scribbles his plan on the board. His plan is to put the brick on the accelerator, and we then see the board where he has simply written WE PUT THE BRICK ON THE ACCELERATOR.
- Failed a Spot Check: It takes Ted a few minutes before he realizes the living room is full of rabbits.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Anything Ted tries to accomplish. Anything.
- Fan Convention: The annual Ted Fest. Distinguished from other Cons by actually taking place on a tiny island off the Irish coast (Inishmore); features a Lovely Girls contest, 5-a-side football, talent show, and drunk students yelling catchphrases ad nauseam.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Played for laughs (naturally) in the "Flight of Terror", when Father Ted climbs outside the aeroplane mid-flight to fix a cable. He's fine until the crisis is over...
Ted: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! What am I doing on this fecking wheel? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!
- He's next seen in the parochial house sitting room, still clinging to the wheel.
- Hippie Van: In Tentacles of Doom, a bishop who has just left the church says he's off to India with "a few friends." These turn out to be a cluster of hippies in a VW microbus, who beckon him in the open sliding door and hand him a joint as they drive off.
- Honor Before Reason: In "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep," Ted exposes a scam set up by a sheep's owner to ensure he wins the "best sheep award," resulting in the sheep being disqualified. Afterwards, Dougal reminds Ted that he bet their heating budget on that particular sheep to win, meaning that he caused him to lose it all.
- Horrible Camping Trip: In "Hell", Ted is granted the use of a caravan for the weekend which turns out to be barely large enough to accommodate Ted, Dougal, and Jack. It begins pouring with rain almost as soon as they get settled in (and Dougal has forgotten to pack any board games, reducing them to hide-and-seek and the famous "Small... far away" explanation of perspective), the only nearby attractions are St Kevin's Stump (an ordinary tree stump) and the Magic Road (on which objects roll uphill in defiance of gravity), the caravan turns out to have been double-booked to Father Noel Furlong and his youth group (who cause the caravan to fall on its side with a re-enactment of Riverdance), and Ted and Dougal repeatedly anger a fellow camper who ultimately leaves them stranded on a country road with four slashed tyres.
- Humiliating Wager: The title character was famously made to kick Bishop Brennan up the arse as the forfeit for a lost football match between elderly priests (technically Ted's team won the match, but he was disqualified for cheating).
- Hypocritical Humour:
- Mrs Doyle hates the language in modern novels; in fact she hates it so much that she spends five minutes using all of the language that she hates.
Mrs Doyle: "Ride me sideways" was another one!
- That line was actually ad-libbed by Pauline McLynn and caused Dermot Morgan to break up. If you watch closely, you can see that the scene is cut just as he is about to laugh out loud.
- Another example from Mrs Doyle is her talk of how much she hates sex. "..can you imagine Father, your husband, with his lad in his hand, ready to do the business, wanting you to degrade yourself...Get a good mental picture there!" Ted is eating a sausage at the time.
- In "Speed 3", after Ted confronts Pat Mustard about using his job as a milkman to father illegitimate children across Craggy Island, suggesting that he should be more careful in the bedroom, Pat turns it around and asks if Ted's suggesting that he use artificial contraception?
: Yes! (Beat)
No! Oh just feck off!
- I Did What I Had to Do: The whole of "Think Fast, Father Ted", where Ted holds a raffle in order to raise money to repair the leaking roof, is riddled with this. But not more so than in the case of the raffle's DJ, Father Billy O'Dwyer, who ends up stealing the raffle money to pay off the debts run up by his huge gambling problem.
- Ignore the Disability:
- "IT'S A WIG!"
- "How's the son?"
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Usually played for laughs, but one notable groaner is this:
Remember when he was drunk, and he went off with Sister Roberta
- Incoming Ham: Bishop Brennan gets a spectacular entrance◊.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
- Done many times. In the second episode, used repeatedly to try to get away from the painfully boring Father Stone.
- In "A Christmassy Ted", the priests try to wriggle their way out of watching a televised Mass through this. One of them says they have to console a death row inmate.
- Inept Talent Show Contestant: "My Lovely Horse". Notably, done specifically to lose the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland, which at that point was tired of being nearly bankrupted by the cost of repeatedly hosting.
- Informed Attribute: We all know that Larry Duff is "great fun". Unfortunately, he's never in a situation to demonstrate it.
- Injury Bookend: In "Are You Right There Father Ted?" Mrs Doyle falls down the stairs and hurts her back, leading to trouble walking, a hunched posture, and inability to do most of her usual work. Ted tries to help (against her violent protests) but just makes it worse. At the end of the episode, she trips, falls down the stairs again, and is cured.
- Innocent Innuendo: "Oh, Pat was wondering if he could put his massive tool in my box?"
- Insane Troll Logic: In "Think Fast, Father Ted", they damage a car they're about to raffle off. Dougal thinks that cheating in the raffle to get the money back would be morally wrong. Ted convinces Dougal otherwise with this brilliant deduction:
Father Ted: Dougal, seriously, listen: if Bishop Brennan finds out we wrecked the car, he will kill us. And murder is a terrible, terrible sin, Dougal. So, by committing this little sin, we'll actually be saving a bishop's soul.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Ted, apparently, doesn't seem to know the difference between China and Japan.
- Iron Buttmonkey: Father Larry Duff, who seems to at best have terrible luck, and at worst suffer horrific injuries, almost every single time Ted calls him.
- I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Used in "A Christmassy Ted". Ted's dreaming about taking Peter Clifford's place in Ballykissangel and has just started kissing Assumpta when he's rudely awoken by Dougal.
Dougal: TED! TED! Would you like a peanut?
- I Will Only Slow You Down: Part of the war movie parody in the Christmas special, after a priest is hit in the eye by a snapping bra strap.
- Jerkass: Bishop Brennan, Father Jack, Father Dick Byrne, Father Fintan Stack, Eoin Mc Love, and Ted himself, to an extent.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ted zigzags around this trope. There are times when he displays real kindness and humanity (talking a priest out of suicide) only for an ulterior motive to be revealed (the priest owed him money). That said, he does seem to care about Jack and Dougal and even possess genuine faith (he's noticeably horrified when Dougal expresses disbelief - though this is just more of the same high-handed hypocrisy).
- Just Plane Wrong: In "Flight Into Terror", the plane is a BAe 146 viewed from the outside, but the interior is of a much larger wide-body aircraft. Of course, the interior of a BAe 146 isn't nearly big enough for a soundstage.
- Kavorka Man: Pat Mustard, the disgustingly sleazy milkman who somehow manages to seduce every woman on his route. And have children with a lot of likenesses to him with them.
- Knife-Throwing Act: A knife throwing act is one of the things that Ted interrupts by phoning Larry Duff's mobile, to Duff's inevitable detriment.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Ted may well be the best example of this trope since Moe from The Three Stooges.
- Lampshade Hanging: Father Jack frequently exits from the living room by screaming and jumping through the window. This gets lampshaded in the Christmas special, where he attempts to do so only to bounce back from the glass. Ted remarks to the room "We thought he was jumping through the old window a bit too often... That's why we had the plexiglass put in"
- Lampshaded the Obscure Reference:
Ted: I am fearless. Like that film with Jeff Bridges.
Dougal: I haven't seen that one.
Ted: Not a lot of people have, Dougal, so it's probably a bad reference.
- Large Ham:
- Bishop Brennan has to be in RRRRROME tomorrow to meet with the holy father!
- Ted, when he gets angry or excited.
- One of the priests stuck in the lingerie section in the Christmas special has an exciting dramatic voice played for laughs.
Father Reilly: [loudly] Ted! Were you asking for a dramatic, exciting voice!?
Father Fitzgerald: No. He said boring. He wanted a boring voice.
Father Reilly: In that case, you must excuse me for my impetuous interruption!
- DRINK! FECK! ARSE! GIRLS!
- Everyone. Every extra, every one-scene character, will act as though they are chewing 900lbs of pork. The world of Father Ted is a quintessential World of Ham.
- Honourable mention to the bigoted woman from "Think Fast, Father Ted", whose hatred of the Greeks causes her to undergo a total, Basil Fawlty style meltdown.
- Late to the Punchline: Usually Dougal getting a joke very, very late.
- Le Film Artistique: The title film in "The Passion of St. Tibulus" is apparently this judging from Ted and Dougal's bewildered conversation the evening after seeing it; it features copious nudity and a plot that makes absolutely no sense. Ted is most puzzled by St. Tibulus wearing so little clothing, noting that "he was from Norway or somewhere, he'd have frozen to death!"
- Being a subbed French film firmly puts it in this category.
- Left the Background Music On: Played with in the "Sheep" episode, with Dougal's BBC sound effects record.
- Low-Speed Chase: In "Speed Three", Father Dougal is trapped on a milk float that will explode if the speed drops below four miles an hour. Among other chase tropes, includes a scene where the float is careering towards a huge pile of Cardboard Boxes, and Ted has to move them out of the way... one by one. Before crashing straight through them in his own car.
- Man Child: Father Dougal. Eoin McLove manages to be an even bigger one.
- The Masochism Tango: John and Mary try to keep up a Happily Married façade in front of the priests but the rest of the time it's blindingly obvious that they completely and utterly loathe each other. The first time they're introduced, Mary's put John in hospital with a knife wound.
- May-December Romance: Sixty-something year old Pat Mustard and many of the women on Craggy Island whom he had affairs with on his milk rounds, and who subsequently became pregnant with his children. As they were able to have children, they were presumably much younger than Pat Mustard.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Suffice it to say, when Ted envisions Jack as a friendly, nice-looking old man in a rocking chair singing "In Apple Blossom Time", it was still Frank Kelly.
- Used in the episode "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading". The priests try to give up their vices for Lent, but soon go into withdrawal and hallucinate one another as the objects of their addiction (giant talking cigarettes or pints of Guinness) speaking gibberish.
- In his DVD commentary co-writer Graham Linehan points out that this is a fairly routine gag until we get to see Dougal's point of view - Ted as a giant rollerblade shoe.
- Megaton Punch: Bishop Brennan manages to launch Ted several feet through the air.
- Father Jack's response to hearing that Father Stone is visiting is to punch Ted out of the window.
- Men Can't Keep House:
- When Mrs. Doyle has a night out, Ted and Dougal manage to start a fire in their attempt to make a cup of tea, and run around in a blind panic.
- Also used to remove the zombie-horde of old women looking for Eoin McLove.
Mrs. Doyle: Stop! Stop! Ladies! It's after seven o'clock. I think your husbands might be wondering where their breakfasts are!
: Mrs. Doyle's right! Remember last year, Mrs. Dunn, when your husband tried to wash a cup, and burned the house down
. And Mrs. Collins, when Mr. Collins tried to make the bed on his own...(dramatic pause)
...and lost a leg.
- Metaphorgotten: In the Christmas special, when Mrs Doyle is describing the process of making tea:
Mrs Doyle: The playful splash of the tea as it hits the bottom of the cup. The thrill of adding the milk, and watching it settle for a moment, before it filters slowly down, turning the tea from dark brown to a lighter brown. Perching an optional Jaffa Cake on the side, like a proud soldier, standing to attention beside a giant... cup of tea.
- Mistaken for Racist: Zig-zagged with Ted in "Are You Right There Father Ted?". He does an impression of Chinese people which genuinely is racist, but his attempts to make amends are torpedoed due to a hilarious series of misunderstandings.
"So Father, I hear you're now a racist!"
- Mood Whiplash: Played for Laughs with the two Craggy Island locals who accuse Ted of being racist. After Ted angrily dismisses them and goes back inside the parochial house, the pair calmly discuss the local news.
Ted: I am not a racist, alright?! God! (leaves)
Mrs. Carbury: Feckin' Greeks!
Colm: How's Mary?
Mrs. Carbury: She's fine. She got that job, after.
- Moral Guardians: In one episode, "The Passion of St. Tibulus", Ted and Dougal are forced by Bishop Brennan to protest a film that the Church finds objectionable. They achieve exactly the opposite effect intended, convincing no-one to their cause and raising so much publicity that it becomes the most popular film ever shown at that cinema.
Brennan: People are coming all the way from Gdansk to see the film!
- Mundane Made Awesome: Ted leading a group of priests lost in a store's lingerie department to safety to avoid a possible scandal is treated as a war-movie parody of a unit stuck deep in enemy territory.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ted, after his prayer to have Father Stone go away by any means results in Stone getting struck by lightning.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: In "Night of the Nearly Dead", Eoin McLove's onstage persona is the son any mother would love to have, a charmer who loves homemade cakes and pies and comfy jumpers. When the cameras are off, he is a sulking, petulant Man Child who hates the middle-to-old-aged women who make up his core audience, is rude and abrasive to Mrs. Doyle when he visits Craggy Island after she wins his poetry competition (the fact that she baked a hand-knitted jumper into the cake she serves him does not help), and openly steals two suitcases' worth of odds and ends from the parochial house while it is besieged by thousands of his fans. (Although he does have an excuse for both his tendency to aim his music at an older crowd and his bad temper when the cameras are off: as he tells Ted and co., "I have no willy.")
- Nightmare Fuel: In-universe, Dougal thinks The Love Bug was so scary, he had to sleep in Ted's bed that night.
Dougal: C'mon, Ted: a Volkswagen with a mind of its own. That's pretty scary.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Henry Sellars = Henry Kelly, Eoin McLove = Daniel O'Donnell, Niamh Connolly = Sinéad O'Connor, Bishop Brennan = Bishop Éamon Casey (who also had a secret son; condoms in Ireland were briefly nicknamed "Just In Caseys").
- No Indoor Voice: Father Jack "FECK! DRINK! ARSE! GIRLS!" Hackett.
- Noodle Incident:
Father Ted: Dougal, Dougal, do you remember Sister Assumpta?
Dougal: Er, no.
She was here last year! And then we stayed with her in the convent, back in Kildare. Do you remember it? Ah, you do! And then you were hit by the car when you went down to the shops for the paper. You must remember all that? And then you won a hundred pounds with your lottery card? Ah, you must remember it, Dougal!
[Dougal shakes his head]
Sr. Assumpta: And weren't you accidentally arrested for shoplifting? I remember we had to go down to the police station to get you!... And the police station went on fire? And you had to be rescued by helicopter?
Do you remember? You can't remember any of that? The helicopter! When you fell out of the helicopter! Over the zoo! Do you remember the tigers?
[Dougal shakes his head some more]
Father Ted: You don't remember? You were wearing your blue jumper.
Dougal: Ah, Sister Assumpta!
- And, of course, the Lourdes incident involving Ted, a trip to Las Vegas and a sick child whose money he allegedly took. All we know is that the money was just resting in his account.
- How Jack got to Craggy Island: the infamous "Wedding in Athlone."
- From "Are You Right There Father Ted":
: It's like that time we put on that variety show, and you did that impression of Stephen Hawking
Ted: He was the last person you'd expect to turn up. That was a million to one chance. God, he can fairly move that wheelchair when he's angry...
- No Name Given: Mrs. Doyle. Whenever anyone says her first name, it's drowned out by a conveniently timed stock sound effect.
- Not So Different: Ted's bitter rivalry with Dick Byrne appears to be borne of the fact that they're carbon copies of one another, even extending to their violent alcoholic and "poor, strange idiot-boy" priests who live with them in an identical house.
- Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: When Father Ted comes across a homosexual musical producer in the episode 'A Song for Europe'.
"Still it must be fun though... not the... y'know... but... well... having boyfriends when you're a man and the general rough and tumble of homosexual activity."
- Not This One, That One: When Father Ted and Dougal go on a caravan holiday, they are terribly excited at the size of the caravan they've borrowed, but discover that it's not theirs, it's just so big it's totally concealing the shed-sized caravan they actually got.
- Not What It Looks Like: Ted was a huge victim of this throughout the series.
: I can explain. [beat]
Actually, no, I can't.
- Nun Too Holy:
- Virtually every priest or nun in the series, definitely including the protagonists. Father Ted is a gambling-addicted embezzler, Father Jack is a foul-mouthed, violent, alcoholic womanizer, and Father Dougal openly mocks the teachings of the church.
- Many of the one shot clergy members crank this Up to Eleven. Examples include Father Williams, who was caught with a box of machineguns in his house and is shot by the British Army over it, Father Billy, "The Spinmaster", a gambling addict who owes some dodgy types a large amount of money and ends up stealing the Craggy Island Parochial House new roof fund and Father Todd Unctious, who tries to steal Ted's golden cleric award and steals another priest's clothing "because it seemed to be the way things were going."
- One-Hour Work Week: The priests' parish duties are virtually non-existent. Ted says about two Masses (one on a mobile altar being towed by a tractor), has some bishops to stay once, and eagerly tells Dougal all the salacious details a parishioner had just given him in confession in one episode.
- Only Sane Man: Zig-Zagged. The Only Sane Mantle is passed around like a ball. It is sometimes held by Ted, however, if the circumstances are sufficiently amusing, it will pass to Mrs. Doyle, Dougal, Bishop Brennan, an Islander, a visitor to the island, and even Jack in a couple of episodes, unless it suits the comedy to have nobody display any kind of sanity at all.
- Only Shop in Town: The shop run by John and Mary seems to be the only one on Craggy Island.
- Out-of-Character Moment: "Sheep" reveals that on leap years Jack turns into a cheerful, free-spirit whenever it's Autumn. Ted laments that it doesn't last long.
- Overly Long Gag: Mrs Doyle trying to get Fr. Todd Unctious' name by sheer blunt-force guessing, suggesting random combinations of names and random words. And succeeding.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: It's amazing how simply changing a word of any ordinary bit of hyperbole to "priest" has this effect. "The most sarcastic man in Ireland" wouldn't cause you to bat an eyelid, but "the most sarcastic priest in Ireland"...
- Pac Man Fever: Dougal and Damo are seen playing Street Fighter II (fairly current at the time), but with Atari style joysticks.
- Parachute in a Tree: In one episode, during a flight emergency, Jack takes the plane's two parachutes and attaches the second one to the drinks trolley. As the credits roll, we see Jack and the trolley both stuck in the tree, with Jack vainly trying to reach it.
- Pardon My Klingon: "Feck" to non-Irish viewers. Feck is a mild curse in Ireland. Interestingly enough, the word has its own history completely unrelated to the err..other F word, although it is commonly used as a milder version of it.
- Pass the Popcorn: In "Night of the Nearly Dead", hordes of middle-aged women have descended on the Parochial House to see crooner Eoin McLove, and have punched through the front door to grab him after he retreats back into the house. Ted, Dougal, and McLove's manager Patsy are trying to break the women's grip on McLove, while Jack... fetches a chair and a drink and sits back to watch.
- Patriotic Fervour: Jack's insistence on standing for the French national anthem is exploited when Ted needs to find a way to stop him crushing another priest by sitting on him.
- Pet the Dog:
- Jack leaving his fortune to Ted and Dougal in his will... as long as they spend the night next to his body when he dies.
- Despite saying outright that he absolutely hates Ted and everything about him, Brennan still shows genuine concern when he thinks Ted's been hurt.
- Perma-Stubble: Jack in many of the later episodes.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
- Pocket Protector: In "Old Grey Whistle Theft", we hear that the eponymous whistle saved the life of a previous owner. He was being executed by the British, and all the bullets hit the whistle, and bounced off. Subverted in that the British simply reloaded and shot him again.
- The Pratfall: Mrs. Doyle wins a date for tea with her idol, TV heartthrob Eoin McLove. When she meets him, she begins shaking uncontrollably, then goes rigid as a board and falls right over on her arse.
- Precision F-Strike:
- The show largely substitutes the dialectal (and much softer) 'Feck' in place of the F-Bomb, but one memorable instant occurs in "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep", uttered by show creator Graham Linehan.
- "Just play the fucking note!"
- "KICK THE FUCKING BALL!"
- Properly Paranoid:
- Ted tears the place apart like a madman searching for a bug placed by the Rugged Island priests... who are indeed spying on him in their ice cream van outside.
- He also instructs Dougal to guard the corner flags against theft. It's obviously just to keep him out of the way, but Dougal takes it seriously- and turns out to be right in doing so when Burne sends Cyril to steal one as a souvenir.
- The Psycho Rangers: The Rugged Island priests. Dick is basically a more evil version of Ted and his two companions are almost exactly like Dougal and Jack.
- Really Dead Montage: Not for Ted but for Dermot Morgan himself.
- Reassigned to Antarctica:
- Seems to be the point of the Craggy Isle parish - Ted for misappropriating funds, Dougal for the "Blackrock Incident", Jack for a sexual dalliance with a nun (and the "Wedding in Athlone").
- In between Seasons 2 & 3, Ted somehow gets back into good graces with the Church, being based in Dublin and going to Paris for Church functions. As soon as an accountant queries his expenses, however...
- Reckless Gun Usage: John in one scene, after the island is gripped by hysteria after a whistle is stolen, mentions that he keeps his shotgun cocked and armed so he can get the drop on him. He then demonstrates poor trigger discipline, waves it around like a Majorette's baton, and points it at Ted, whilst slamming it down on the counter at the same time.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Zigzagged—at first Ted appears to be the more sensible, level-headed one, until you realize that he cares more about material possessions and wealth than spirituality and is perfect willing to throw away any scruples he might otherwise have in order to pursue some shallow goal(which is sometimes money but may also be beating Dick Byrne in some childish challenge), whereas Dougal for all his ditziness at least makes more of an effort to be a good priest or at least a good person; moreover, he is also calmer and less excitable than Ted.
- Refuge in Audacity:
- Dougal figures that Ted Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse is so ridiculous, Brennan himself wouldn't believe it. Sure enough, Bishop Brennan gets kicked up the arse and it only occurs to him that this is what happened when he's having an audience with the Pope, upon which he runs full pelt back to Ireland, where Ted is able to convince him that Ted kicking the Bishop up the arse is too ridiculous to have actually happened, which the bishop believes.... until he sees a giant photograph of the act.
- Father Todd Unctious, and how he infiltrates the trio's house comes down to this.
- Repeated Cue, Tardy Response: Ted needs to hold a raffle for a prize that isn't his to give away, so he rigs the draw by giving Dougal the winning ticket. Dougal remains oblivious after the number is called several times, responding only when Ted addresses him directly.
- Reset Button: Unusually played at the beginning of an episode rather than at the end. The episode 'A Christmassy Ted' referred to all charges against Ted over the 'Lourdes thing' dropped (the original offence which got him sent to Craggy Island). The first episode of the next series showed him at his luxurious new parish...before an auditor discovers irregularities in the parish accounts sending him right back to Craggy Island.
- Springtime for Hitler: "My Lovely Horse" gets chosen as the Irish entry for the Eurovision Song Contest so that Ireland will lose and will not have to incur the cost of hosting the Contest another year. Averted, in that the plan succeeds spectacularly.
- Spot of Tea: While tea drinking is generally associated with the English, the Republic of Ireland are just about equally notorious. Ireland's obession with tea is represented by Mrs. Doyle. "Tea, father?" "Oh, you will, you will, you will."
Mrs Doyle: Father, shall I make our fluffy guest a cup of tea?
Mrs Doyle: Yes.
Ted Oh, well... give him some of that then.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Ted and Dougal and even Mrs. Doyle towards Laura Sweeny, unable to believe that she was Jack's solicitor.
- Stock Yuck: Ultra Heat Treated milk.
Head Milkman: You'd better get going. Milk goes sour you know - unless it's UHT milk, but there's no demand for that because it's shite.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Weird example in "Speed 3" when Ted's think-tank team of priests seem to independently work out that the episode is a Whole Plot Reference to an action film and the answer must lie in such a film, yet constantly pick the wrong ones which bear no relevance to the crisis, such as The Towering Inferno. More hilariously, they only pick The Poseidon Adventure because Gene Hackman plays a priest in it. He doesn't even say Mass!
- Straw Feminist: Niamh Connolly is an Up to Eleven example of this trope, being stridently anti-Catholic - as befits her status as a thinly-veiled parody of Sinead O'Connor:
Connolly: And the Church in Ireland actually shut down a lot of the factories that were making the potatoes and turned them into prisons for children.
Ted: There you go! She says that like there's something sinister about it!
- Strawman Political: Played for laughs with Bishop Brennan who is designed to represent the worst aspects of the Catholic Church in Ireland. He is rude, a bully, a hypocrite (He lives in glamourous surroundings and a woman in a hottub while the priests barely scrape by) and has a secret child living in America.
- Streisand Effect (In-Universe): The church's protests at "The Passion of St. Tibulus" result only in the film's overwhelming popularity.
- Suicide Mission: When Ted and Dougal really manage to piss Brennan off, Ted fears they will be sent off to do missionary work somewhere especially dangerous, with the ultimate aim of getting some of the natives to sacrifice them to Volcano Gods.
Brennan: Ah, there's a lovely little island off the coast of Suriname, and they have a couple of tribes there — you're going to love this! — and they have been knocking the shit out of each other since 1907! And we have never found the right man to bring them together in the spirit of Christian harmony, but I think that you, Ted, are the man.
Ted: Well...thanks very much.
Brennan: Don't thank me, don't thank me...by the way, do you know how to make arrows?
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It's not a knifewound."
- Super Window Jump: Practically a Running Gag.
- Take That Me: The Show Within a Show Father Ben. Dougal especially finds The Ditz character Danny hilarious.
- Tempting Fate:
- In the Christmas Special, Ted announces that he is looking forward to "A nice quiet Christmas with no unusual incidents or strange people turning up. That would suit me down to the ground."
- In "The Mainland" when Ted suggests he say "I don't believe it" to Richard Wilson. According to Dougal, "Serious Ted, that is a fantastic idea. This is one of those times when I'm absolute one hundred million per cent sure that you'd be doing the right thing. I can safely say you definitely, definitely won't regret doing that!"
- That Makes Me Feel Angry:
"OOH, I REALLY HATE FATHER DICK BYRNE!"
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Father Stone's fondness for staying for days or weeks on end, bringing long, awkward pauses with him.
- This Is Reality: Several times, where dramatically or comedically required, Ted makes comments along this line:
Ted: This is the real world!
Dougal (*playing with a magnetic fishing game): Oh you're right there Ted.
- Throw the Dog a Bone:
- "Competition Time" is the one episode where Ted and Co. are better off than when it began.
- Similarly, one of Larry Duff's appearances leads to a completely different priest being horrifically injured/killed rather than him.
- Training from Hell: Parodied when the priests give up cigarettes, alcohol and rollerblading for Lent. The nun sent to then wakes them early, bathes them in ice, drags them from a tractor, shoots at them with a revolver and makes them sleep on bricks.
- Trope Codifier: Father Ted builds on earlier more mainstream TV sitcoms about priests, religion, and religious hierarchy, taking the themes and settings of earlier shows like Bless Me Father and Oh Brother! and taking them Up to Eleven and beyond. Without Derek Nimmo's relatively innocuous portrayal of a Church of England vicar in an otherwise anodyne sixties sitcom, there might have been no "Father Ted".
- Mushroom Samba: Jack tends to hallucinate whenever he drinks Toilet Duck. He sees Ted as incredibly creepy when holding up three fingers.
- T-Word Euphemism: In one episode, Mrs Doyle has been reading the works of a lady novelist staying at the parochial house and is shocked by the language. She refers to "the F-word", but this being Father Ted has to clarify "The bad F-word. Not feck. Worse than feck."
- The Unfettered: Father Jack is completely unafraid to say what little he has on his mind.
- Totally Radical: Intentionally so. While working on "My Lovely Horse", Dougal makes a stilted attempt at rapping, prompting Ted to tell him to forget about his "Icy Tea" and "Scoopy Scoopy Dog Dog".
- Unfortunate Names: Dick Byrne.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Father Ted, while he isn't the worst, is still an egotistical crooked jerk. Perhaps best exemplified with his highly vitriolic award speech in "A Christmassy Ted".
- Unusual Euphemism:
- "Feck". (Not invented by the series, commonly used in Ireland)
- In one episode Ted goes to a park in which one is forbidden from swearing. He's called a "fupping backstard" and a "pedrophile", among other things.
- Unwitting Pawn: Ted and Dougal become this for Irish Eurosong selectors in "A Song For Europe".
- Vow of Celibacy: Bishop Brennan apparently has a mistress and a son, as shown in a holiday video tape found in his bag. The main characters use this tape as blackmail when Brennan threatens to reassign them somewhere even worse.
- Waving Signs Around: "Careful now!" "Down with this sort of thing!"
- We Want Our Jerk Back: At first Ted and Dougal are thrilled when Jack gets a contagious disease and has to be sent away. Then it turns out his replacement takes Jack's Jerkass qualities Up to Eleven until they're driven to kidnap him back.
- What Measure Is A Nonhuman: More like "What Measure is a Nun" in Dougal's mind.
- Wheelchair Antics: From one episode: "Honestly, what kind of situation would require the use of a pair of fake arms and a remote-controlled wheelchair? Only, I imagine, a completely ludicrous one!"
- Whole Plot Reference: "Speed 3", more or less.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Ted and his fellow priests just can't work out where they've heard the plot of the episode "Speed 3" before.
- X Must Not Win: In the episode "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading", after being goaded into giving up something for Lent by Father Dick Byrne, Ted gives Dougal a lecture on the importance of Lent, something far more important than the sacrifices made by Jesus as the latter points out, but beating Dick Byrne at his bet.
- You Look Familiar:
- Irish comedian Jon Kenny played a cinema owner in "The Passion of St Tibulus" and a Eurosong MC in "Song for Europe" (in the latter role, he was filling in for Steve Coogan who pulled out at the last minute).
- Pauline McLynn played Mrs Doyle in every episode, but as she only had a few lines in "Flight Into Terror" they also let her play one of the nuns throwing paper at Ted.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Spoofed in the main plot of "Night of the Nearly Dead", in which hordes of elderly women descend upon the parochial house to get a glimpse of singer Eoin McLove.