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03rd Jul 2017

The Definitive Ranking Of All 25 ‘Father Ted’ Episodes From Worst To Best

James Fenton

19 years after the last episode of Father Ted aired, it remains arguably Ireland’s most quotable sitcom ever. 

Any number of lines from Ted, Dougal, Jack or Mrs. Doyle are repeated every day, both here in Ireland, and further afield.

As far as ecclesiastical sitcoms go, there is no comparison.

Every episode had their own classic moments and brilliant characters but which episode would you rank as number one?

We’ve crunched the numbers (had a bit of yarn in the office) and come up with the definitive ranking of each Father Ted episode from 25 all the way down to the coveted top spot.

Before anyone kicks us up the arse, we’d like to explain that we love every Father Ted episode equally. Like, imagine having 25 children and having to rank them all from worst to best. It’s the same. 

We’re definitely not all going to agree so should we just get started? Right, Ted. 

25. Night Of The Nearly Dead

Like we said, we love every episode and the Eoin McLove character is great. But you could kind of tell it was the second last episode ever made. 


24. Good Luck, Father Ted

In much the opposite way, this episode had a lot in common with most pilot episodes of successful sitcoms. Its main purpose is to introduce the characters which it does admirably.

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23. Going To America

The last episode to air, it felt like things were just being wrapped up at this point. Tommy Tiernan’s classic Radiohead moment is a highlight. 

22. Escape From Victory

The prequel to the superior ‘Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse’, this episode served to set us up for the next one, with some fine laughs along the way.

“Those are fake hands!”

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21. Think Fast, Father Ted

The one with the raffle. Again, nothing wrong with this episode. It just tends to slip under the radar when thinking of Ted’s best work. Dancing and boring priests aside.

20. Tentacles Of Doom

Three bishops come to Craggy Island leading to much hilarity, mostly served by a newly-bespectacled Mrs. Doyle.


19. Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest

The first episode to really focus on Father Jack, it was a perfect tribute to a great character. 

Ted and Dougal’s mausoleum provided some great laughs. And who doesn’t love a game of charades in a mausoleum?


18. Cigarettes, Alcohol & Rollerblading 

Our three heroes struggle with their Lenten vows while the Dick Byrne rivalry always served up hilarity.

“What are you giving up, Dick? Being the biggest eejit in the priesthood?!”


17. Competition Time

The one with the Elvises. Henry Sellars falling off the wagon is an oft-quoted scene. 

“I made the BBC!”


16. And God Created Woman

Ted makes a female companion which leads to him having to fight a lot of temptation. 

Ted concocting a web of lies to get out of saying mass is one of the best scenes in any episode.

“Good luck with the book!”

15. Entertaining Father Stone

Legendary in its simplicity. A classic comedy episode with perhaps the most awkward bathroom scene of all time.


14. Rock A Hula Ted

Old-fashioned Ted comes up against a rock star feminist and it ends how you might expect.

“Of course… they ALL have lovely bottoms…”


13. A Song For Europe

The episode which introduced the world to the magic that is ‘My Lovely Horse’.

“Ireland, no points… again”


12. Old Grey Whistle Theft

We wanted to place Father Damo higher but competition was too fierce. Never has Oasis v Blur been debated so hilariously.


11. Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep

Arguably the most ridiculous episode of all. It saw Father Ted lean further toward the surreal. Sheep tea, The Beast Of Craggy Island and gambling away an entire annual heating allowance are all running themes. 


10. Speed 3

Perhaps controversially, Lothario milkman Pat Mustard just squeezes into the top 10. 

“Theresa! I forgot me feckin’ trousers!”


9. The Mainland

It was hard to separate the two episodes which prominently featured Graham Norton as the hugely irritating/entertaining Father Noel Furlong.

The ‘here’s me eating Tony’ scene will go down in comic history.


8. The Plague

The terrifying Bishop Brennan coming to town was always memorable. The creators have spoken of how this calamity-strewn episode was inspired by ‘Fawlty Towers’.


7. Hell

The higher-ranking of the two Graham Norton shows and the episode which gave us “small, far away,” perhaps Father Ted’s most famous quote.


6. Flight Into Terror

We originally had this action-packed episode in the runner-up spot but we reluctantly had to bump it down.

“It’s me… in the nip… with the dog.”


5. New Jack City

Brendan Grace does a star turn as obnoxious, jungle music-loving Father Fintan Stack. 

“I’ve had my fun and that’s all that matters.”

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4. The Passion Of Saint Tibulus

The highest-ranking episode from series 1 and one which had a huge cultural impact.

A modern protest doesn’t take place anymore without someone scribbling ‘Down with this sort of thing,’ or ‘Careful now,’ on pieces of cardboard for the world to see.

Careful Now

3. Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse

How they made such a ridiculous plot into a complete masterpiece of sitcom history is beyond us. 

Audiences particularly basked in Ted’s fear of Bishop Len Brennan. 


2. A Christmassy Ted

Not a favourite of the creators, but the lingerie department scene alone is worth a place high on the list.

Always a sure sign that the festive season has arrived.

So many quotable lines, we don’t know where to begin.

“Ruud Gullit sitting on a shed?”


1. Are You Right There Father Ted?

Where do we start? 

This episode kicked off series three and placed Ted in the uncomfortable position of being an alleged racist.

After a stint living the lap of luxury in Dublin, it was great to see Ted thrown back into the misery that is living on Craggy Island.

The episode has gone down as a classic and in many ways epitomised the whole tone of the show.

Particularly apt now during these divisive modern times.

“I hear you’re a racist now, Father!”


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