Today’s newspapers are full of The Pope’s resignation. On this day 15 years ago, attention was focused on another departing (fictional) Priest, but from this mortal coil, as Dermot Morgan, star of Father Ted, sadly died on February 28th 1998.

Instead of mourning, let’s celebrate the greatness of Father Ted by looking back at his five greatest moments in a five part series.

5. SPEED 3

This episode begins with a classic Ted joke, where you can see the punchline, but get sent in the wrong direction as to who the victim of the punchline is, as an angry Ted storms in, covered in sick, angry at Dougal for playing with excitable babies.

Just when you think that the Babies have been sick all over Ted, it turns out that it was the childlike Dougal who was the one who had puked all over Ted.

The star of this episode is Pat Mustard, a sex crazed Milkman who Ted takes an instant dislike to. Having noticed an unusual amount of hairy babies (a great example of the surreal humour used in the show), Ted suspects that Pat Mustard has been fathering illegitimate children.

One of the great aspects of the show was Ted’s competitive streak, usually brought out by Dick Byrne, a rival priest on a nearby island, with a parallel set-up (old drunk priest, young idiot priest, middle aged priest)

Ted and Dougal go out to gain evidence on Mustard’s extra curricular activities, which they do, resulting in Mustard getting sacked.

Funny so far, but just wait for the, quite literally, explosive punchline.

With no Milkman to serve the island, the childlike Dougal volunteers himself for the role, with the head of distribution happy to accommodate this due to Dougal being “A man of God”, which he needs to have explained to him.

The best bit about it was Ted’s send-off to Dougal, like a proud parent sending a child to school.

Dougal running a milkfloat ended up having hilarious consequences, but it wasn’t Dougal’s fault. It would have been too easy for it to be his fault.

Dougal became the victim of a revenge attack, with a bomb on the milkfloat activated when he goes above 4mph, to go off when he drops below 4mph, a parody of the 90s film series Speed, which had two films in the 90s (The episode was a joke that this would be the 3rd Speed movie)

What comes is a perfect example of Father Ted’s humour – slapstick, surreal, and never afraid to make fun of popular culture. Ted enlists the help of two other Priests, one of whom wants to use the situation to say Mass.

The answer, literally, hits Ted, as Jack hits Ted with a brick, which inspires Ted to put the brick on the accelerator, to allow Dougal to escape.

Pat Mustard may have been the star, but Dougal has the last word. On his milkround, a woman turned up at the door naked in anticipation of Pat Mustard, only to see Dougal.

Later on, Dougal screams out “Ted!! Those women were in the nip”

Slow, Naive, and Endeeringly funny. Dougal Maguire summed in in a sentence.


January 1997 is the subject of the latest Magazine Archive, set during the peak years of Britpop, and featuring Oasis on the cover, focusing on the Q Awards, which had just been recently staged.

It was a period when Q was mourning one of their main writers, John Bauldie, who was a passenger in the helicopter crash which killed then Chelsea Chairman Matthew Harding, which is commemorated in the obituaries section.

A whopping fifteen pages are dedicated to the Q Awards, with the first page of the feature having a double paged photo of various guests on stage, engaging in small talk.

Eagle eyed readers will have noticed Dermot Morgan and Ruud Gullit in conversation. It is worth clarifying that Ruud Gullit wasn’t sat on a shed, possibly because it wasn’t Christmas.

1996 was the year that saw Q celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, and the awards ceremony saw various celebrities record video messages of congratulations.

Amongst them, was Tony Blair, then Leader Of The Opposition, recorded one saying “Ten years in power with no opposition – Sounds good to me”. It was almost prophetic.

Ian Brodie was riding on the crest of a wave in 1996 on the back of “Three Lions” and gets five pages looking at his career to date, with minimal mentions of Baddiel and Skinner.

That month, Lightning Seeds were 11 in the Album Chart, being kept out of the Top Ten by Robson and Jerome, Spice Girls, East 17, Simply Red, The Smurfs, Boyzone and Rod Stewart.

Sometimes, history is better off being rewritten.