Father Ted – the Lost Episodes

Yes! – they're back. The lads from Craggy Island re-appear in a new episode/

Just doodling with a few ideas in the Ted continuum.

ANNOUNCER - And now on Channel Four. We return to for a new series about the everyday pastoral lives of Catholic priests in a sleepy Irish backwater where nothing much ever seems to happen and the local people get into amusing scrapes that confirm the Irish stereotype in British eyes… (LONG PAUSE. PAPER GETS SCRUNCHED UP) . I'm sorry. That was the blurb for Ballykissangel. We are in fact off to Craggy Island. Viewers are warned that the following half-hour contains a lot of blasphemy, swearing and sexual references, so if you are easily offended, feck off now and make a fecking cup of cocoa, for Christ's sake. Go on, shoo. Feck off. We mean it!

(WE OPEN ON A TRACK OF CANNED LAUGHTER . THIS ACCOMPANIES SOME SLIGHTLY GRAINY FILMSTOCK WITH THE OCCASSIONAL LINE RUNNING UP THE SCREEN. LINES OF INCOMPEHENSIBLE ORIENTAL TEXT SCROLL UP AND DOWN THE RIGHT HAND SIDE. THE FILM SHOWS A CHURCH. THERE IS A VOICEOVER, IN A DRAWLING SARDONIC AUSTRALIAN ACCENT. )

VOICEOVER:- Stone the flaming crows, it isn't easy being a Roman Catholic in Japan. This is only Saturday night and getting to the flaming confessional.

The scene unfolds of Japanese Catholics trying to get into the Church, but being thwarted by tilting slabs that lurch sideways, sending penitents into crocodile-infested moats. Or else a ciborium filled with some sort of mild acid, so that anyone dipping their fingers in to cross themselves gets an unpleasant and painful surprise, and/or flick acid in their own eyes before realising and screaming in agony.

VOICEOVER:- Aren't these people flaming weird, eh! Oh, look at this one!

A penitent has wisely avoided the acid-filled ciborium and is tentatively using the one on the opposite side of the porch. She dips her fingers in prior to genuflection. There is a hideous scream as she pulls her hand away with a pirhana fish attached to it. In the background, a black-suited bespectacled Japanese presenter with a microphone is pissing himself laughing.

VOICEOVER:- And that's our host, Sad-Isto Hirohito-San, who devised this programme format for the God-slot on Japanese television. It takes a particular kind of mind, and the little yellow bastards…

PRODUCER (cutting in hastily):- You can't say that, Clive!

VOICEOVER:- the Japs certainly have it in abundance after what they made my father do on the Burma Railway. You understand the River Kwai a bit better when you see what they're prepared to do to each other for entertainment…(pulls himself together) Not that I'm bitter, of course. And oh look, this one's actually got to the confessional!

A penitent is seen confessing his sins. Suddenly, the bamboo and ricepaper wall separating priest from penitent is kicked in and a priest, in black kimono with a clerical collar, two samurai swords tucked through his belt, leaps through. He grabs the penitent by the neck and slaps his face repeatedly from side to side, barking the required penance. All the blood drains from the pentient's face and he whispers in Japanese. This is tteanslated as no! No! Anything but that, have pity, illustrious Father-sama, I beg you…

VOICEOVER:- Looks like he's in for it now! And yes! The penance consists of being tied spreadeagled over a pit full of hungry rats whilst having his underpants filled with cream cheese. How many Rosaries can a man recite under these conditions? Yes viewers, the winner of this feat of endurance wins ten thousand yen, that's about fivepence, and gets his immortal soul shriven. At least until next Saturday when it all begins again!

(We see a line of Japanese, stripped down to their underwear, tied firmly over pits. We do not see the rats, but we hear lots of hungry chittering. Plastic lines are forcing some sort of guck into their underpants which swell visibly. We hear cod-Japanese being chanted, punctuated by shrieks of pain, to the rhythm of "Hail Mary, Mother of God…" In the background, Hirohito-Sama is still roaring with laughter and slapping his thighs in Japanese game-show host jollity. He composes, looks serious for an instant, crosses himself, then starts pissing himself with laughter again.)

(The scene changes again. It is Sunday in church and the survivors are lining up for Holy Mass. It is the quiet contemplative moment after the sanctus bell is rung. The usual panoply of altar-boys and deacons are standing by as the first communicants come to the altar rails.

(Then a rope drops and a ninja, a black clad combat-priest, all in black save for a clerical collar, slips nimbly down. We hear him chant the Mass in Japanese. Then he takes a handful of the Host and starts throwing them out like shuriken throwing-stars, with the appropriate whooshing sound-effect dubbed on. We see the "shuriken" hitting communicants in the mouth with deadly ninja accuracy. One is mis-timed and the communicant reels backwards with a grunt.

VOICEOVER:- You've just gotta be quick off the mark and know when to open your mouth, haven't you? And coming up tonight in Part Two of Isn't Other People's Television Total Shite…(1) we will be looking at what passes for sit-com in Ireland, and we have some tasty French adverts where the girls get their kit off totally gratuitously….

(We pan back and see this is all a TV show. It is being watched by the priests of Craggy Island in the living room of the Parochial House. FATHER TED CRILLY, FATHER DOUGAL MAGUIRE and FATHER JACK HACKETT are present.)

FATHER DOUGAL MAGUIRE:- (wide-eyed alarm, like a frightened hamster). Ted Ted! They take it seriously in Japan, don't they? This Catholicism thing, I mean!

(Cut to opening credits and Songs of Love).


(1) Australian-born TV critic Clive James pioneered this magazine-format review of TV around the world. Aided by his sardonic commentary, it gave British TV viewers the chance to sneer at how piss-poor everyone else's TV and adverts were compared to ours, and was an instant hit. One of James' favourite targets were those Japanese game-shows that verged on insanity and borderline sadism for their impact. The son of a man who spent four years in Japanese captivity in WW2 and died shortly after, it was often hinted that James saved a special bile and loathing for Japan and all things Japanese. The show passed to Chris Tarrant, who found a loathsome American confrontation format presented by somebody called Jerry Springer. The whole point of the "-On TV" shows seemed to get lost here: rather than holding up Springer and his ilk as a terrible warning of how crap TV can get, British programme commissioners now seemed to regard it as a catalogue to order from. And thus Springer ended up on British TV, with no ironical sub-text, leading directly to today's chav-clashes hosted by the loathsome and repellent Jeremy Kyle…