Note for those who do not dwell on Craggy Island, nor indeed on its neighbour Rugged Island. Father Ted is probably the greatest and funniest sitcom to come out of Ireland and is much-loved in Irealnd, Britain, and those parts of North America with a grown-up sense of humour. The adventures of three Catholic priests exiled to a remote West of Ireland parish for various misdemeanours is a tour de farce of surreal comedy, gently sending up not only Ireland and the Irish, but also their attitude towards a Roman Catholic church sometimes suspected of being distant, out of touch and even corrupt. The TV series owes a lot to Monty Python and to the home-grown surreal farces of Flann O'Brien. Indeed, what might Flann O'Brien say to seeing this fanfic archived under the heading of British Comedy?
Dedicated to the memory of Dermot Morgan (Father Ted Crilly)1952-1998.
Father Ted: the lost episodes that can now, alas, only be made in Heaven.
Episode One: The Army Chaplain.
(Scene: the Parochial House, Craggy Island. The bedroom shared by FATHER TED CRILLY and FATHER DOUGAL MAGUIRE. As the show opens, it is early morning. Both priests are sleeping. FATHER TED is talking in his sleep.)
TED:- (sleepy) And I believe that under a more liberal Pope with a more relaxed attitude towards contraception, the Nolan Sisters would never have been allowed to happen….
(Suddenly, FATHER DOUGAL sits bolt upright in his bed. His eyes are staring manically.)
DOUGAL:- Ted, Ted! Wake up, Ted!
(FATHER TED struggles into full wakefulness.)
TED:- Astfgwl…. Hmmmumph…. What is it, Dougal?
DOUGAL:- You're never going to believe this, Ted. I've just had this dream. You know really strange things happen in dreams that nobody in their right mind is ever going to believe? Well… and this is really going to get you, you'll laugh… I dreamt I was a priest in this really weird religion. Sort of dressed in black with this little white round collar.
DOUGAL:- And the daft things this religion believed in. Sure, you wouldn't believe it, Ted. Like you eat this little wafer and sip the wine, and it magically becomes the God's body and blood…
DOUGAL:- Sure, I know, Ted, daft things like that only happen in dreams! And this bit'll make you laugh, this God's mother runs the show from Heaven where she's sat up on a cloud listening to everyone's prayers and telling God what to do, and because she's his old mam, he's got to do it…
TED:- Dougal, that's not a dream….
DOUGAL:- And just wait till I get onto the bits about what they think is a sin, those'll really slay you…
TED:- Dougal… that's not a dream. It's not. We are priests. And that's what we believe in.
DOUGAL (looking confused) :- No kidding, Ted?
TED (firmly):- No kidding, Dougal.
DOUGAL:- And the bits about the old fella in Rome, the German lad, fought for Hitler before he got the calling?
TED (even more firmly):- He exists, Dougal. He's the Pope.
(Cue the Divine Comedy, Songs of Love, and opening credits.)
(Scene: the Parochial House, Craggy Island. The living room. FATHER TED CRILLY and FATHER DOUGAL MAGUIRE are having breakfast, in their case toast, breakfast cereal, and tea. FATHER JACK HACKETT is also having breakfast. Mrs. DOYLE is coaxing him into eating some cornflakes, as they're good for him. As she turns her back, he contemptuously flings the milk over his shoulder with a sneer. He produces a bottle of Paddy Powers, and smiles benignly as he pours whiskey over his breakfast cereal. The telephone rings. As FATHER DOUGAL is nearest, he answers it.)
DOUGAL:- Hello, the parochial house, Craggy Island, Father Dougal Maguire speaking?
(FATHER TED CRILLY nods in approval. It has taken ages to train Dougal to answer the phone properly. Lesson One involved holding the receiver right side up, and took some time to master)
DOUGAL (listening):- Ah, 'tis yourself, Len! Sure, I'll get him, Len!
(FATHER TED rushes to the phone. He wrests it from DOUGAL. He is just in time to hear: )
BISHOP LEONARD BRENNAN:- And don't you DARE call me "Len", y'wee gobshite! It's "Your Grace" from the likes of you!
TED (putting on the nervous, fawning, voice he always uses to the Bishop):- er… good morning, your Grace. Father Ted Crilly here. How are you this morning?
BISHOP LEN:- I'll be blunt with you, Crilly. As I've had to break off from some important business to speak to you. I'll also be quick. I'm sending you a fourth priest, temporarily.
TED (knowing no good has ever come of a fourth priest being sent to the Island):- Oh.. that's kind of you, Your Grace… who is he?
BISHOP LEN:- He's an Army chaplain, Crilly. He's done some quite sterling work in the military, quite commendable. But his commanding officer and the Chaplain-General both consider he's overdue a break and some leave to be spent in a tranquil, peaceful, place where nothing ever happens. It will be your Christian duty to provide him with peace and tranquility, d'you hear me, Crilly? You are to be accommodating and understanding, as he has a couple of odd little quirks from his time in the military. Put into plain talking - do not feck it up, as you have a gift for doing, Crilly, d'you hear me? He'll be with you later today. That's all.
TED:- Your grace, I…
BISHOP LEN (emphatically) Goodbye, Crilly. (ends call)
(BISHOP LEN turns away from the phone and back to that important Church business. Through the clouds of smoke, we see three other Bishops, in purple shirt-fronts, and a Cardinal in red, sitting around a poker table. All are smoking, the CARDINAL has a massive cigar on the go and is wearing a green visor as well as his red cap of office. Each has a stack of poker chips in front of him and there is a large pot in the centre. LEN resumes his place.)
THE CARDINAL (dealing cards) . OK, boys, Texas hold'em, aces low, jokers wild. Where's O'Madden? He took a hammering on the last hand. Must have hurt, huh?
(There is a distant shot and the thud of a falling body. The players briefly look up, then back to their cards.)
THE CARDINAL (resigned) :- Now I've got to appoint a new bishop in Westmeath. But that's life, guys.
(Scene: back in the living room at the Parochial House. FATHER TED replaces the telephone in its cradle and shakes his head sorrowfully. He is looking grave and serious. DOUGAL, FATHER JACK and Mrs. DOYLE all look at him.)
Mrs. DOYLE (concerned):- Bad news, Father?
TED:- You'll need to put another teacup out, Mrs. Doyle, as Bishop Brennan is sending us a guest for a few weeks.
(Mrs. DOYLE goes into orgasmic ecstasies at the thought of there being another tea-drinker in the house. TED continues.)
TED:- It's another priest. Now, and this is very important, he's an army chaplain, and the poor chap's being sent here for some rest and quiet. Lord knows what terrible sights he might have seen, ministering to the fallen on the battlefield and being a witness to things that, God willing, we shall never see as priests.
DOUGAL:- What, like bodies and bits of bodies and arms and legs and everything flying through the air?
TED (sharply) all that sort of thing, yes, Dougal!
DOUGAL:- And performing the last rites to fellas who've had their heads shot off and their insides hanging out and blood everywhere…
TED:- I'm sure our guest would not care to be reminded, Dougal! For all we know the poor man has PTSD.
DOUGAL:- There was this fillum. Saving Private Ryan. It was great, Ted. All blood and gore, and this lad got his arms blown right off…
TED (sharp):- Just don't mention it in front of our guest, Dougal! It's a fair bet he has the PTSD.
Mrs. DOYLE (looking perplexed) I thought only wimmin got that, Father? Should I lay in some… women's intimate things… and some evening primrose oil?
TED (at first equally perplexed, and then realizing. He laughs and gets patronizing to Mrs. DOYLE):- Oh, no, no, no, no, Mrs. Doyle. You're thinking of the old PMT there. No, that is a wimmin's thing. (he breathes) Thanks be to God. (normal voice) No, Mrs. Doyle, this is PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It comes on a fella when he's seen something so sickening, so disgusting, so shocking and horrifying and stomach-turning that it stays with him the rest of his life and every so often, he'll relive it as if it's happening again.
DOUGAL (wisely):- Ah, I see what you mean, Ted. Like the Eoin Love Christmas TV Special. The one with the Nolan Sisters in it.
TED:- This is worse, Dougal!
(DOUGAL's mouth opens and his jaw drops in horror at just how low mankind can fall).
TED: But anyway, our guest will be here soon, and everyone should be on their best behaviour. Including you, Jack. For all we know it might be shell-shock that he's suffering from. Poor fellow must need the rest!
(Scene and FX:- As TED turns away to leave the room, the large bay window suddenly explodes inwards in a shower of glass and splintered wood. There is an ear-splitting explosion. A dark sinister figure abseils in on a rope, landing with both feet squarely in TED's chest, bowling him over the back of the sofa.
Think SAS at Iranian Embassy for the references and costume.
The newcomer lands squarely in the middle of the room. He is dressed all in black, right down to the black hood and the gas-mask. On top of SAS walking-out dress, he wears a white clerical collar and the purple rank-badges of an Army chaplain.
As TED staggers to his feet, it begins to dawn on him exactly which Army regiment the new priest was chaplain to.
CAPTAIN THE REVEREND WIGAN-WALLGATE (extending a hand):- Ah, you must be Father Crilly!
(Ted gingerly takes his hand. The handshake becomes a judo move and Ted is flung over Wigan-Wallgate's shoulder to land awkwardly in an armchair. FATHER JACK leers, laughs and applauds. This is entertainment!)
WIGAN-WALLGATE (anxious):- Sorry about that, old man, force of habit!
TED gets groggily to his feet. They shake hands, more conventionally. Then W-W's attention is seized.
W-W:- And who is this lovely creature, set on Earth to slake the thirsts of men? (Mrs. Doyle preens, flattered.) I'll have two sugars, please!
TED and DOUGAL look at each other, and then at the wreckage of the window. The unspoken thought is What has Len Brennan wished on us this time?
AND SO WE GO TO THE COMMERCIALS….END OF PART ONE.