Series 1 Episode 1
The Divine Comedy
Graham Linehan Arthur Mathews
Original air date
21 April 1995 (1995-04-21)
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"'Good Luck, Father Ted'" is the first episode to be aired of the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.
Ted Crilly is an Irish priest who resides on the fictional Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland with two other priests named Dougal Maguire and Jack Hackett and their housekeeper Mrs. Doyle.
A producer from a Tele Éireann television programme, Faith of our Fathers, phones the parochial house asking to interview Ted for an episode about priests who work in remote areas. Ted is very keen to be interviewed, but fearing embarrassment, he doesn't want either of the other priests to also appear, and tells the producer that he is the only priest living on Craggy Island.
Dougal is set on going to 'Fun Land,' a funfair taking place in 'The Field'. Ted discourages this, noting that priests are expected to demonstrate restraint, which is ironic given his keenness to appear on television. Ted arranges with the TV reporter to be interviewed in The Field (which Ted explains isn't actually a field, but merely a place which has fewer rocks than anywhere else on the island), forgetting that 'Fun Land' is also being held there.
Ted has tried to ensure Dougal and Jack won't be seen on television by arranging for Dougal to take a wheelchair-bound Jack for a "walk" to the cliffs, and is annoyed to find them at 'Fun Land'. Dougal initially says the cliffs "were closed", and then that "they were gone" due to erosion. Ted tries his best to usher the pair away, so that he can be interviewed in peace.
'Fun Land' is an extremely tacky affair with highly peculiar attractions, including Spider-Baby, Freak Pointing, Whirly Go Round, The Pond Of Terror, Goad The Fierce Man, Spinning Cat, The Crane Of Death, Duck Startling, and last but not least, The Tunnel Of Goats.
Whilst Ted is telling Dougal how seriously Catholicism should be taken, Father Jack runs off. Ted finds Jack asleep on a bench and sits down with him. The bench, however, is actually the 'Crane of Death' (so called because a young man was killed on it the year before), which is lifted high off the ground by a crane. When Ted stands up to take Father Jack back to his wheelchair he suddenly realizes he is up in the air.
Meanwhile, Dougal has encountered the television crew, and because Ted has told them that he is the island's only priest, they assume he is Father Ted. From his elevated position, Ted sees Dougal being interviewed by the TV crew and is so dismayed that he falls off.
The episode ends with a heavily bandaged and splinted Ted, along with Jack, Dougal and Mrs Doyle, watching Dougal's television interview, in which he expresses doubts about Christianity and organised religion, as well as relating elements of a nonsensical dream which he has confused with reality. The on-screen caption reads "Father Ted Crilly". Jack takes offence at Dougal's on-screen appearance, and hurls a liquor bottle at the television.
While this was the first Father Ted episode broadcast, it was not always intended to be; the writers originally planned to air "The Passion of Saint Tibulus" first, but later decided that "'Good Luck, Father Ted'" would make a better introduction. Linehan makes a non-speaking cameo appearance, goading the "fierce man" on the stepladder at Funland. Mathews also makes a cameo as the voice on the Funland intercom; the voice Mathews adopts here is the one he used while playing "Father Ted" in a stand-up routine he performed prior to the series's creation.