Father Ted

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Feck off!

Unhinged Sitcom by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, 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, the idiotic manchild Father Dougal, and the drunken, violent, foul-mouthed skirt-chaser Father Jack. 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, and settings were all Irish) or British (it was produced 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 Python.

Tropes used in Father Ted include:

Brennan: What would the following describe to you; Jack, sleepwalking and bollock naked?

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".
  • Badass Grandpa: Jack, Bishop Brennan.
  • Berserk Button: Ted learns the hard way never to say "I don't believe it!" in front of Richard Wilson.
    • "Don't call me Len, you little prick."
  • 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.
  • Bizarro Universe
  • Boggles the Mind: Dick Byrne manages to spell out "useless, priest, cant, say, mass" in a game against Ted.
  • Brick Joke: Done both figuratively and literally in "Speed 3".


    • 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.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Father Dougal.
  • The Cameo: Father Brian Eno.
  • 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.
  • The Casanova: Pat Mustard
  • Catapult Nightmare: The "Eurosong" episode. 'We have to lose that sax solo!'
  • Catch Phrase: Several.
    • Father Jack: "Drink! Feck! Arse! Girls!"
    • Father Ted: "The money was just resting in my account!"
    • Mrs. Doyle: "Would ya like a cup of tea, father? Ah go on! Go on! Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on. GO ON!"
    • Played with in "The Mainland", where Dougal becomes hooked on One Foot in the Grave and subsequently encounter its lead actor. Ted gets the idea that Richard Wilson would find it amusing to have his Catch Phrase yelled at him; this doesn't go down quite as well as Ted had imagined.
  • Chekhov's Gag
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Now Tom, this is the first time you've been trusted with such a large consignment of raw sewage. ... Now, this button opens the doors, and this button shoots the sewage out." You already know what's going to happen, right?
    • "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!"
    • The perfectly square bit of dirt pointed out by Ted near the start of the episode "Are You Right There Father Ted?" later comes back to haunt him.
    • As does the massive amount of Nazi memorabilia owned by the priest Ted visits at the beginning of the episode.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Father Dougal
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Creator Cameo: Both Arthur Matthews and Graham Linehan played various parts throughout the series,
  • Curtain Camouflage: An episode where Ted and Dougal play hide and seek in a very small caravan.[1]
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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!

Ted: [holding up a toy Cow] Concentrate Dougal. 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.
  • Dirty Old Man: Father Jack, literally and figuratively.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Door Step 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.
  • Double Take
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Bishop Brennan.
  • Easy Evangelism: Somehow, Dougal unintentionally talks a bishop into abandoning religion. In a single conversation. Then again, the bishop was already having a crisis of faith.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: The people of Craggy Island.
    • "Feckin' Greeks! They invented being gay!"
    • "I hear you're a racist now, Father -- good for you!"
    • "Farder! I killed a man, Farder!"
    • John and Mary O'Leary, a couple who run the general store on the island, hate each other and are always encountered just as they perpetrate some violence on each other, and then immediately act as if nothing is wrong.
  • Evil Laugh: Dougal, while holding the Golden Cleric Award at the end of "A Christmassy Ted".
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The episode "Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse".
  • Exiled to an Island: The backstory for Father Ted, Father Dougal, and Father Jack.
  • The Exit Is That Way: A particularly unusual variant occurs with Father Dougal: he walks the wrong side of an open door, missing an exit that is right in front of him.
    • 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...


  • 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, it's revealed that all he's done is write "We put the brick on the accelerator".
  • Failure Is the Only Option
  • 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.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot
  • Film Noir: Part of "A Christmassy Ted", when Father Todd Unctious states his motivations.
  • Flanderization: Dougal's idiocy was played down less as the series went on with him at times proving smarter than Ted.
    • John and Mary, the abusive shop-owners, appeared in all bar one episode of the first season, but were reduced to occasional cameos in the second and third seasons, because Graham Linehan thought they were too one-note.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Craggy Island has one that Ted was completely oblivious to.
  • The Fun in Funeral: "You let DOUGAL do a FUNERAL???"
  • Genius Ball: Happens to Dougal in 'Are You Right There Father Ted?' when he comes up with a plan to save Ted from being known as a racist, much to Dougal's distress who insists that it's a lousy plan and he just hasn't thought it through.
  • Genius Ditz: While mostly a ditz, Dougal often shows signs of intelligence and excellent character judgements
  • Geographic Flexibility: The only constant of Craggy Island's geography is that it has no west side - it just kind of broke off during a storm and drifted away. In some episodes it is incredibly tiny; in others it can contain an entire Chinatown that Ted has somehow never heard of.
  • Gilligan Cut
  • Global Ignorance: In relation to the Geographic Flexibility above, when someone asks how to get to Craggy Island it's revealed that the island doesn't appear on any maps and the only way to know when you are near it is when you see ships dumping nuclear waste. The general rule is that if you are going away from it you are heading in the right direction.
  • Gonk: The make-up work on Father Jack, including white and grey blue Mismatched Eyes, crusty lips, strange ruddy spots, stringy hair, and a perpetual snarl makes him quite possibly the ugliest thing to ever appear on TV.
    • Frank Kelly, who played Jack, has said that people wouldn't talk to him with his makeup on.
    • Farscape actually based an alien priest on his appearance, in the episode 'A Prefect Murder'. A picture can be found here. The similarity is quite striking.
    • Pauline McLynn nearly didn't get the part of Mrs Doyle, because they felt she was too pretty. She turned up to a later audition with a terrible case of the flu, and the rest is history.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: After Jack sobers up for the first time in twelve years and Ted and Dougal re-introduce themselves:


  • Half-Hour Comedy
  • Heroic BSOD: 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...


    • He's next seen in the parochial house sitting room, still clinging to the wheel.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • Ignore the Disability:
    • "IT'S A WIG!"
    • "How's the son?"
  • 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.
  • Incoming Ham: Bishop Brennan gets a spectacular entrance.
  • 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 hosting.
  • 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.
Father Dougal: *thinks about it for a second* Fair enough then, Ted.

  • Iron Butt Monkey: Father Larry Duff, who seems to at best have terrible luck, and at worst suffers horrific injuries, 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?

  • Jerkass: Bishop Brennan, Jack, Dick Byrne, Father Stack, and Ted, 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 ven possess genuine faith (He's noticeably horrified when Dougal expresses disbelief).
  • 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.
  • Knock-Knock Joke
  • 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"
  • 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.
  • Last-Second Word Swap
  • Late to the Punchline: Usually Dougal getting a joke very, very late.
  • 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 eight 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.
  • Man Child: Father Dougal
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Megaton Kick-Up-The-Arse: Bishop Brennan manages to launch Ted several feet through the air.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Played to the max here; when Mrs. Doyle has a night out, Ted and Dougal run around in a panic, unable to manage a simple cup of tea.
  • Mistaken for Racist: "I hear you're a racist now, Father."
    • Well, he was actually being racist... he probably just didn't expect the three Chinese people standing outside his window when he did his Chinaman impression with a straw lampshade on his head.
  • 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.
  • 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 war-movie parody of a unit stuck deep in enemy territory.
    • Well, they are Catholics.
  • 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 were briefly nicknamed "Just In Caseys").
  • No Indoor Voice: Father Jack "FECK! DRINK! ARSE! GIRLS!" Hackett.
  • Noodle Incident: The "Blackrock incident" that got Dougal sent to Craggy Island.

Bishop Brennan: The amount of lives irreparably damaged...
Dougal: They were only nuns.
Bishop Brennan: Nuns are people too!

    • Not to mention the funeral Dougal did, which somehow ended with the hearse in the grave, on fire.
    • Another one was the "Sealink incident," which we are told involved Dougal and the controls of a Sealink ferry, although Noel Furlong tactfully shushes Dougal before he can give too many details.
    • Yet another one, in "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading"--where they seem determined to push this trope to its breaking point:

Father Ted: Dougal, Dougal, do you remember Sister Assumpta?
Dougal: Er, no.
Father Ted: 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?
Father Ted: 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.
  • No Name Given: Mrs. Doyle. Whenever anyone says her first name, it's drowned out by a conveniently timed stock sound effect.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. "Go away, I don't want to catch the menopause."
  • 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 What It Looks Like: Ted was a huge victim of this throughout the series.

Ted: I can explain. [[[Beat]]] Actually, no, I can't.

  • 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- and also has some bishops to stay once. That's about it.
    • One episode had Ted eagerly telling Dougal all the salacious details a parishioner had just given him in confession.
  • Only Sane Man: Ted (at least within the parish).
    • Subverted: Ted himself is not so sane at all.
  • Only Shop in Town: The shop run by John and Mary seems to be the only one on Craggy Island.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Averted sort of. Dougal and Damo are seen playing Street Fighter 2, 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.
  • 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.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • Though Ted is occasionally shown to say Mass (including once on a mobile altar being towed by a tractor), and once talks about a confession he took, Dougal and Jack are never seen doing any priestly things. Justified by Dougal's status as The Ditz and Jack as The Alcoholic - you wouldn't want them doing any work either.
    • Dougal once performs a funeral instead of Ted, leading to a crashed herse, fire and much screaming.
    • Lampshaded when Dougal becomes a milkman and Ted is unable to think of any parish duty that would prevent him from doing so.
    • It's pretty clear, though, that all three priests know very little about Catholicism. Jack is permanently drunk, Dougal is the resident ditz and even Ted forgets that the church condemns homosexuality, has papal infallibility and even says that God is the most forgiving of all gods.
  • Precision F-Strike: The show largely substitutes the dialectal 'Feck' in place of the F-Bomb, but one memorable instant occurs in "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep". Also uttered by show creator Graham Lineham.
    • "Just play the fucking note!."
  • The Psycho Rangers: The Rugged Island priests.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reveal Shot
  • Running Gag: Too many to list. But one particular example is Ted calling Father Larry Duff on his mobile just when he's doing something important and messing him up because of it. On one occasion he fell of a cliff while trying to find his phone, for example. Another time he lost a ten thousand pound contest which required intense concentration.
    • Mrs Doyle's constant tea offering is one of the most famous running gags. Her dedication to tea making is frankly disturbing. She asks over and over and over. Once, she asked via a very large series of written signs when the music was up too loud to talk. Another time when Ted came downstairs in the middle of the night, she was standing perfectly still next to the door holding a tray of tea, six inches from Ted's face when he turned the light on. She also offered tea to a man who had just explained he was deathly allergic to it, although he left before she could really press him.
    • People on Craggy Island sure do jump out of windows a lot...
    • Any time Ted calls someone (especially a priest) on their mobile-phone, it ends badly. As in, driving-off-a-cliff, being-maimed-by-a-knife-thrower, machine-gunned-by-the-IRA badly.
    • John and Mary, the 'loving couple' that keep trying to kill each other.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Father Jessop, the most sarcastic priest in Ireland, appears to be in it all the time. It backfires on him horribly.
  • Scatting: The priests' performance of "La Marseillaise" in "A Christmassy Ted" is an incoherent mumble with no distinct words, English or French. (Although the mouth movements of at least one priest do roughly correspond with the French words.)
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: The mysterious sheep-eating beast, described by Dougal as follows:
    • Incidentally, four-arsed creations became a recurring theme on South Park some years later.
  • Separated by a Common Language: In Cigarettes And Alcohol And Rollerblading, the phrase that forms (in Ted's mind at least) from John's cigarette smoke takes on a whole new meaning if you're American.
  • Serious Business: "There's nothing at all stupid about the All-Priests Over-75's Five-a-Side Football Championship Match! Against Rugged Island." (Or the All Priests Stars in Their Eyes Lookalike Competition, for that matter.)
    • The theft of a whistle prompting Craggy Island's one policeman to start doing helicopter sweeps and the Islanders to start locking themselves in the basement in case they're brutally murdered.
  • Shout-Out: The mad woman shouting "Feckin' Greeks!" looks (and flails) just like Maria von Trapp singing "I Have Confidence".
  • Shur Fine Guns: Averted by John's shotgun. He slams it down on the counter, causing Ted to jump, but it doesn't go off. John finds this hilarious.
  • Similar Squad: The Rugged Island priests.
  • Sitcom
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Dick Byrne, along with the rest of Rugged Island's Psycho Rangers.
  • Snipe Hunt: In the All-Priests Over-75s football match, Ted gives Dougal the task of guarding the corner flags against theft. This becomes relevant when Dick Byrne sends the equally-inept Cyril to steal one as a souvenir.
  • So, You Were Saying?
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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: The church's protests at "The Passion of St. Tibulus" result only in the film's overwhelming popularity.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It's not a knifewound."
  • Take That Me: The Show Within a Show Father Ben.
  • 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."
    • Also 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:


  • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: "Competition Time" is the one episode where Ted and Co. are better off than when it began.
  • Toilet Duck Samba
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Un Reveal: Mrs Doyle's first name is never mentioned, except for two occasions in "The Mainland", when an alarm bell and a dropped tray prevent the viewer from hearing it.
    • Also, Mrs. Doyle very nearly talks about her husband in one episode, before abruptly cutting herself off.

Mrs. Doyle: ...I've said too much.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Speed 3", more or less.
  • 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.
  • Zany Scheme
  1. That's a "trailer" or "mobile home" to North Americans.