Technically, this shouldn’t count as it’s a feature length special, but, it’s my chart, and my rules.
An indication of how brilliant and well thought of this episode is, is the fact that this show is repeated every christmas. Like Morecambe and Wise on the BBC, people expect it to be repeated. It’s become a part of Christmas.
I’m certain that there are people, just like me, who look to see when it is on whenever they buy their Christmas edition of the Radio Times to see when it is on.
We begin, in a parallel TV universe, with guest appearances from Dervla Kirwan and Stephen Tompkinson, reprising their roles in Ballykissangel, as Ted replaces Father Peter in the parish, only for it to be revealed as a dream, as Dougal wakes him up to offer him a peanut.
Good ole Dougal, kind and sweet, but generally messing things up.
Dougal then has a fine moment when they put up the Christmas tree as he tells Ted that the lights are off, then on again, not realising they were flashing lights. He then tops it off by predicting that his advent calendar would contain an image of Ruud Gullit sitting on a shed.
Ted’s competitive streak comes out when he jealously speaks about other Priests amongst his peers, having more success than him.
The three Priests then go on a shopping trip, with Jack left behind by Dougal. Dougal then shows his kind hearted stupidity by dropping Jack in a creche, under the mistaken belief that it is a place for “People who don’t like shopping”
While shopping, they come into the main punchline of the first part of the show, where they get lost, and find themselves in a ladies underwear department.
While there, they bump into two other Priests, who are actually looking to buy stuff, but after Ted tells them they are lost, a story they tag along to, for fear of being rumbled.
They then find another four Priests. Fearing a national scandal, Ted takes control of the situation, becoming the leader of the group, as they try to escape.
A great comic moment comes up, as Ted has the idea of hijacking the PA system, to clear the shop so they can escape. Ted requests a dour voice suited to PA announcements, which he gets, before a Priest with a Shakespearean actor voice volunteers under the mistaken belief that Ted required a booming, rasping voice.
Eventually, they escape, but that isn’t the end of it, as Ted is awarded a Golden Cleric. However, this causes Ted to go on a downward spiral, and doubt his own Priest abilities.
Meanwhile, Ted encounters that awkward situation we’ve all been in, meeting someone who knows who he is, Father Todd Unctous, who makes himself more than welcome at the Parochial House.
Ted’s attempts to find out who this Priest is are thwarted by Todd’s inability to write due to a ruptured nerve, and not telling him who he is.
While Ted is accepting his award, Todd does what appears to be research on the geography of the house.
Meanwhile, all becomes clear, as Todd wants to steal Ted’s award, only being rumbled by accident as Dougal comes downstairs to watch a scary movie in the middle of the night, setting Ted up to catch him in the act of attempted theft.
Ted might have won the award, but it was Dougal who had the laughs with his one liners and stupidity. Merry Christmas.