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Recap / Father Ted S 1 E 1 Good Luck Father Ted

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Ted: (giving directions) Oh no, it wouldn't be on any maps. We're not exactly New York! No, the best way to find it is to head out from Galway and go slightly north until you see the English boats with the nuclear symbol. They go very close to the island when dumping the old 'glow-in-the-dark'.

We're first introduced to the series with Father Ted asking Father Jack whether or not he feels like handling one of the weekend masses (naturally, Jack doesn't), followed by Father Dougal entering and turning out to have a spot of shaving cream on his face. His entire face. After he wipes it off, he tries to tempt Ted with the thought of going to Funland, a notoriously poor funfair that's visiting Craggy Island later that week, though Dougal's vivid descriptions of the "Spider Baby" — something that has the mind of a baby, but the body of a spider — causes Ted to point out that Dougal might well be mixing up dreams and reality again. After Dougal tries switching on the TV (which only gets the TV destroyed courtesy of an empty bottle thrown by Jack), Ted gets a phone call from TV producer Terry MacNamee, who wants to feature Ted on his TV show Faith of Our Fathers. Ted eagerly agrees, and "helpfully" informs Terry that he's the only priest who lives on Craggy Island.


Later that week, Terry and his crew arrive on Craggy Island, and Ted advises them to get help from Tom, the island's resident crazy guy, to find their way to The Field, the least rocky place on the island. After much effort forcing Jack into his wheelchair, Ted has Dougal take him on a walk, while he sneaks off to The Field. However, Ted is dismayed to find that Funland has set up camp there, and even more alarmed to find Dougal and Jack riding on Funland's poor approximation of a Merry-go-Round.

Dougal persuades Ted to have a tarot reading, and Ted is naturally very concerned when three "Death" cards show up, especially since there's only supposed to be one in each pack. To add to their troubles, Jack goes missing, and Ted eventually finds him sat on a seemingly innocent bench. However, this bench turns out to be part of "The Crane of Death", and before they knows it, Ted and Jack are hoisted high up in the air. Dougal, meanwhile, is found by Terry and crew, and thanks to Ted's earlier claim to be the only priest on Craggy Island, they mistake Dougal for Ted. The real Ted is naturally horrified by this development, and tries to figure out a way to get down off the bench, but Jack's angrily demanding a drink upsets the bench's balance and sends Ted plummeting to the ground below.


That evening, the interview with "Father Ted Crilly" appears on the now-repaired TV, while the real Ted, bandaged-up in a full-body cast, moans in despair as Dougal proceeds to talk about how he doesn't actually believe in God, and tells viewers of the mysterious Spider Baby. Jack happens to wake up and, annoyed by the interruption, lobs an empty bottle at the TV again.

Tropes featured in this episode:

  • The Alcoholic: Surprisingly enough, this is actually only inferred rather than outright shown to be the case for Jack for most of the episode. Outside of the scene where he's lured into his chair with a bottle of wine, and then when he's showed with a load of empty bottles (and an empty container of Castrol motor oil) near the end, he just appears to be very cranky and violent.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: All three of the main characters asides from Ted are quickly established to be this, although Dougal is probably the worst.
  • Establishing Character Moment: As the first episode of the series, each of the four main characters naturally gets one or two:
    • Ted's is when he's unsuccessfully trying to persuade Jack to do mass, and then points out Dougal's shaving foam-covered face, establishing him as the Straight Man of the series. However, he's shown to be Not So Above It All when he lies about there being no other priests on the island, and then blows off Tom's claim to have killed a man because he's more excited about being on the TV.
    • Dougal is well and truly established as a Cloud Cuckoolander in the first few minutes, due to his not noticing the shaving foam on his face, and then the whole discussion with Ted about dreams and reality.
    • Jack's uncooperative personality is hinted at when he refuses to do any priestly work, and his violent temper is established when he destroys the TV with a bottle.
    • Mrs. Doyle's obsessive need to give people drinks is shown firstly when she forces some tea on Ted despite his being busy trying to fix the TV (and obliviously pours hot tea all over Ted's hand when he tries to refuse), and then merrily gives a cup to Jack despite his foul-mouthed refusal.
  • Global Ignorance: Ted's directions to Terry.
  • Meaningful Name: The Crane of Death got that name because someone was killed on it the previous year. Ted nearly gets added to the body count, too.
  • Precision F-Strike: Technically it's with "feck" instead of the other f-word, but Jack delivers one nonetheless:
    Mrs. Doyle: Now, what would you say to a cup?
    Father Jack: FECK OFF, CUP!
  • Tarot Troubles: Lampshaded; Ted somehow gets three "Death" cards, despite the fortune teller pointing out there's only supposed to be one per pack. As it turns out, the cards accurately foreshadow the accident he's going to have on the Crane of Death.


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