|A Christmassy Ted|
24 December 1996
The episode opens with Ted dreaming himself into the plot of Ballykissangel, telling Assumpta that he is going to leave the priesthood for her. Just as they start to kiss, Dougal wakes Ted simply to offer him a peanut, and Ted finds his dreams radically changed when he tries to sleep again: he is being chased by giant, snarling peanut. Apparently there is more to Ted's original dream than mere romantic fantasy, as he confesses the next day that he is dissatisfied with his current station in life; he doesn't get enough recognition or excitement. Moving past this, though, Ted wishes for an uneventful, ordinary Christmas. Seemingly on cue, the doorbell rings and Ted finds a baby on the doorstep; however, the mother quickly removes the baby, having mistaken Ted's house for someone else's. Ted wonders if having a baby around the house could have led a number of humorous situations, but Dougal quickly convinces him that nothing interesting would have come of it.
While Christmas shopping, Ted and Dougal accidentally wander into what turns out to be the largest lingerie section in Ireland, prompting Ted to worry that there will be a scandal if they are discovered. As they try to find the exit, they run into six other priests, and Ted ultimately leads their escape in an unusually heroic fashion, after using the speaker system to tell Women at the exit the store is about to close. Soon after, Ted learns he will receive a coveted Golden Cleric award as recognition for his actions. Although disappointed that there is no cash prize, Ted is excited at the potential fame and prestige that come with winning the award. However, when Mrs. Doyle still only admits him to be the second-best priest in the country and talks about a Protestant Priest, he is thrown into a huff and goes off to muse on his future (inadvertently making an enemy of a fisherman on the way) and returning to find that in his absence, Mrs. Doyle has had Dougal perform a funeral he was meant to do (with predictably disastrous consequences).
As Ted gets over this, he gets a visit from an unknown priest who claims to be an old school friend of his. Mrs. Doyle, after nearly an hour of random guessing, correctly identifies him as Father Todd Unctious, and he is invited to stay for Christmas. Meanwhile Ted composes a vindictive acceptance speech for the award ceremony, pouncing on his chance to get back at everyone who's "fecked him over" in the past.
At the ceremony, Ted's speech goes on so long that all but a few attendees leave before he has finished. During Ted's party afterwards, the TV is switched on and is showing an extended Latin mass so the priests who Ted helped rescue from the lingerie section find excuses to leave, including talking to someone on Death Row. Only Todd Unctious seems eager to stay. After Ted and Dougal go to bed, Unctious attempts to steal the award only to be discovered by Ted after Dougal sneaks downstairs to watch a scary film on the television involving a burglar breaking into someone's house. After he is caught and arrested, Unctious explains that he had become overly obsessed with awards, which causes Ted to realise that he is suffering with the same problem. Ted resolves to become a better priest, but shows little signs of following through on his resolution. However, he agrees to share the award with Dougal, who briefly goes mad with power.
Also in this episode, Jack is left in the kiddie playland while Ted and Dougal shop, Mrs. Doyle goes through a crisis when Ted gives her an automated tea-maker, and she has several ungraceful landings from a ledge while she puts up Christmas decorations.
- Dermot Morgan as Ted Crilly
- Ardal O'Hanlon as Dougal McGuire
- Frank Kelly as Jack Hackett
- Pauline McLynn as Mrs. Doyle
- Gerard McSorley as Todd Unctious
- Stephen Tompkinson as Peter Clifford
- Dervla Kirwan as Assumpta Fitzgerald
- Tony Guilfoyle as Larry Duff
- Andrew McCulloch as Tom McCaskell
- Kevin McKidd as Father Deegan
- Ed Byrne as Prankster
- This episode is 55 minutes long, as opposed to the usual 21-22 mins of all other Father Ted episodes. It was aired on Christmas Eve, seven months after the second series had ended. Due to its popularity it continues to air on Channel 4 and More4 in the UK every Christmas.
- Graham Linehan has clearly stated in his DVD commentary of this episode that he thinks this Christmas Special was far too long and at moments expresses his boredom and use of bad language towards the end of the commentary track.
- The Lingerie section scenes were filmed in Dunnes Stores, Ennis, Co. Clare, just before the shopping centre was opened, .
- The scene where Mrs Doyle must guess "Todd Unctious"'s name is supposedly based on a similar scene in the novel The Third Policeman.
- Early on in the episode, Ted says "You slave away to the needs of your parishioners and what do you get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville. This is a reference to the famous taxicab scene from On The Waterfront.
- The scene in which "Todd Unctious" rappels down from the ceiling to steal the Golden Cleric is a parody of a famous scene in the movie Mission: Impossible which came out in the same year.
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