Right then, say 'lo to what I suppose is my first bash at a Father Ted mockisode. Now, I'm never never never claiming to be half as great as Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, god no - I'm just a Tedhead. I'll explain the title quickly - the word 'Meldrew' is a shout out to The Mainland - one of my favourite Father Ted eps, where Richard Wilson made an appearance. Since One Foot In The Grave, the word Meldrew has been borrowed to typical, grumpy old bats. It's all down there anyway, written in script. Please enjoy, ah go on :)
For the brilliant Dermot Morgan. Who was tragically stolen from us.
(Open to parochial house living room, where MRS DOYLE is lovingly polishing a photo in a frame using a dainty hankerchief. She is smilingly doing this for a moment or so before FATHER TED CRILLY enters, having just arrived from upstairs.)
TED: (Walking upto her) Morning, Mrs Doyle.
MRS DOYLE: (Still polishing) Morning, Father.
(TED stops beside her and frowns, having expected an offer at a cup of tea by now. He folds his arms and waits.)
(And waits some more.)
TED: (Coughs loudly)
MRS DOYLE: (Looks up from her polishing) Oh Father, do I need to get the Tixylix back out?
TED: No no, I'm grand. What is it you're doing anyway?
(He peers over her shoulder at the framed picture: a 'family portrait' style photo of TED, FATHER DOUGAL MCGUIRE and MRS DOYLE, all beaming and standing around FATHER JACK HACKETT, who is seated and sneering at the camera-man.)
TED: God almighty, that's an old photo Mrs Doyle. (He points to a section of the photo) That was back when you had the peroxide.
(A closer look at the picture sees that MRS DOYLE still looked the same as ever, only with an out of place perm and bleached blonde hair. MRS DOYLE shakes her head with tight-lipped disapproval.)
MRS DOYLE: Yes, very old photo. (Then becomes happy) Taken our first year together, the four of us. Seven years to the day, Father.
TED: (Looking wistful and reflective) Seven years. (Then the more he thinks it through, the more becomes slowly bitter and miserable in expression.) Seven years ...
(They are both startled by a distant: DRINK! Coming from upstairs.)
TED: (Realisingly) Oh yes, that was why I came down. (TED walks offscreen, assumably into the kitchen, and returns moments later with a breakfast tray and on it, an American-style beer hat and two cans of lager.) Grand ol' device this. We're not having to bottle feed him in the mornings these days.
(TED leaves out the living room, leaving MRS DOYLE alone with the photo. She smiles, licks the tip of her hanky and continues polishing – very feverishly. Upstairs, in the bedroom, DOUGAL is standing in front of the mirror with a ping-pong paddle. He looks at it, and assumes a mock legs-apart stance. He slowly swings, watching himself.)
DOUGAL: He's reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, he's conqured Croatia, and now he's about to kick Andei Pavel's arse! (Swinging more vigourously) Come on Andrei, let's have ya then!
(He accidentally chucks the paddle in mid-swing, it flies straight ahead and cracks the mirror in front of him. TED is watching him from the door.)
DOUGAL: (Turns around, startled. He is clasping the paddle against him) It wasn't me Ted, it was .. ehm, Tim Henman.
TED: (Hands on his hips, shaking his head) Tim Henman, the tennis player? (DOUGAL quickly nods, still clasping the paddle until TED takes it off him) Dougal, this is a ping pong paddle.
DOUGAL: It is, Ted.
TED: And you know tennis and ping-pong are not the same thing?
DOUGAL: (Bemused) .. It's not?
(Sighing and shaking his head, TED tosses the paddle onto his bed and sits down next to it.)
TED: That's seven years on your luck, you know.
DOUGAL: (Starts approaching his bed to sit opposite TED) Ah Ted, theres nothing in it. (As he walks, he trips over a wire going across the floor, that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. The wire is connected to the lamp that sits between TED and DOUGAL'S beds. It is tugged and causes the lamp to fall on the floor and burst into a small fire. DOUGAL doesn't seem to notice.) That supersticious nonsense, nothing in it at all.
TED: Dougal! (He jumps to alarm and uses his bed quilt to smother the fire out. DOUGAL has sat down on his bed.)
DOUGAL: Why'd you have a paddle anyway, Ted?
TED: (Having finished with the fire, he wipes his hand across his forehead and frowns.) What?
DOUGAL: The paddle, there.
TED: Oh right, well. Father Declan's expecting us a little later, for a game. He's terribly competitive but the problem is, well, he's a bit rubbish.
DOUGAL: He can't play tennis?
TED: Ping pong, Dougal. And no, he can't play much of anything. Should be an easy win, really. (Hearty chuckle) Unless that luck of yours sticks around.
Next bit coming up soon.