Trivia / Father Ted

  • Author Existence Failure: Lead actor Dermot Morgan's death was not the reason for the show ending, but the popular conception that it was the cause is a difficult one to refute. It did have an effect on the final episode "Going to America", in which the original ending had Father Ted committing suicide, which was then instead changed to a montage of clips from all the previous episodes as a farewell to the fans. Had Dermot not died there probably would have been a lot of pressure to continue.
  • Creator Backlash: Despite being two of the more popular episodes among fans, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews admit in the series scriptbook to not being entirely happy with how "New Jack City" and "Night of the Nearly Dead" turned out; the former because they felt far too much of the episode was taken up with Father Stack just being a jerk, and the latter because they were running out of ideas and had to resort to several comedic devices they wouldn't normally use.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Inverted with Pauline McLynn, who was 33 when the show started. She almost didn't get the part, because she was too pretty for Mrs. Doyle.
    • Also inverted with Frank Kelly, who was 58 when the show started; Father Jack is supposed to be fifteen to twenty years older.
  • I Am Not Spock: Severely affects the entire cast. If you were an extra in this show that's all you're ever going to be. Graham Norton averts it by simply carrying his persona to the talk-show circuit. Some of the cast who are in stand-up avert it (such as Ed Byrne), although Ardal O'Hanlon may not be so lucky. (That said, there are far worse shows to be forever tied to.)
    • This got so bad that Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle) refused to appear in the documentary about the show. She has however gone on to be a successful novelist.
    • Father Brian Eno got away with it.
    • In an In-Universe example, Richard Wilson plays himself in one episode, and is driven into a rage by Ted saying 'I don't believe it!' to him.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Father Jack, as loud and as obnoxious as he is, is played by Frank Kelly... who couldn't have been more different from the character. Kelly joined Emmerdale but left after five months, because he missed being with his wife and children in Ireland too much to stay. He also donated money to various drama projects which are struggling, and asks for nothing back in return.
  • Method Acting: While Dermot Morgan could jump from playing Father Ted to entertaining the studio audience between setups, Ardal O'Hanlon had to go off to a corner by himself because Dougal was so odd that it was hard for him to stay in character while shooting.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Played for Laughs in "A Song for Europe"; Ted's singing is done by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy (who wrote most of the music for the series), and is so completely different to Ted's voice it merely adds to the ridiculousness of the song.
  • Older Than They Think: "Dermot Morgan playing a funny priest" actually goes all the way back to 1980, when he would appear on The Live Mike as "Father Trendy" to deliver the end-of-episode homily.
  • Throw It In:
    • When describing the Beast of Craggy Island, one of Dougal's lines was meant to reveal that "instead of a mouth, it's got two faces." Ardal O'Hanlon didn't think this was funny, and when filming was taking place, decided to change the line to "instead of a mouth, it's got four arses," getting an uproarious reaction from the audience which immediately convinced the producers that the altered line should be left in.
    • "'Ride me sideways' was another one!" was an Ad Lib by Pauline McLynn — you can see Dermot Morgan trying not to laugh.
  • Too Soon:
    • The original script for the final episode, "Going to America", ended with Father Ted contemplating suicide. However, when Dermot Morgan died the day after filming was completed, that ending was quickly replaced with a montage of scenes from previous episodes.
    • In a more personal version of Too Soon, actor Jim Norton, who played Bishop Brennan, revealed in the documentary Small, Far Away: The World of Father Ted that, as much fun as he had filming it, he has never watched "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse" from start to finish, as it was the only Bishop Brennan episode to premiere after Dermot Morgan's death, and he believes watching it would bring back too many bittersweet memories.
  • What Could Have Been: The series' script book reveals that quite a few of the episodes, particularly in the third series, would have gone off in different directions:
    • Mrs. Doyle's first name was mentioned to be Joan in the script for one of the early episodes. The line was cut for timing reasons, and subsequent episodes made the non-reveal of her first name a Running Gag.
    • "The Mainland" had a deleted subplot involving Ted being falsely accused of stealing a briefcase. Near the end of the story, he only needed to use half of his betting money to pay the bail for Father Jack, Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. Dineen... and then had to use the other half to bail himself out when he was arrested for his "theft."
    • "Escape from Victory" would have ended not only with Ted's cheating being exposed, but it being revealed that Dick Byrne had bribed the Craggy Island team to throw the match (which they forgot to actually do, thanks to their advanced ages). The two are forced to undergo each other's forfeits, and Dick actually has to go through with kissing Cyril... which he does in a nonchalant way that suggests he (and possibly also Cyril) is actually a closeted Straight Gay. This then leads into the cliffhanger ending and Ted being told he has to kick Bishop Brennan up the arse — which in this version was Dick's forfeit from the off, instead of him doing it as a response to Ted's cheating.
    • "Night of the Nearly Dead" gave a different explanation for Eoin McLove's Man Child behaviour, namely that he was so used to being mothered that he had mentally regressed to childhood. This was changed to the brief reference to his Barbie Doll Anatomy that appears in the finished episode.
    • Originally Mrs Doyle was going to be a love interest for Father Ted but this was ultimately scrapped, however most of the dialogue is still the same.
    • The series finale ended, as mentioned previously, with Ted joining the suicidal priest on the window ledge at the priests' convention.
  • 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.

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