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Entertaining Father Stone
Series 1, Episode 2
Entertaining Father Stone
Air date April 28, 1995
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Entertaining Father Stone is the second episode of Series 1 of Father Ted.

Synopsis

The always at a loss for words, Father Stone, visits Craggy Island and over stays his welcome.

Story

Ted sits in the living room and tries to make conversation with the latest guest to the parochial house, a priest named Paul Stone, who is painfully boring by giving monosyllabic answers to any question asked.  Even Mrs. Doyle cannot stand him as seen by her reaction when she brings in the tea. 

When Dougal enters, Ted grabs him and runs out of the room. Lighting a cigarette, Ted breaks the news that their guest is Paul Stone, causing Dougal to momentarily faint with shock. Ted knows he has to break the news of the visit to Jack and tells Dougal to bring Paul out for a walk. After convincing Paul that there is a fire in the house, he agrees to go out with a reluctant Dougal but they only get as far as just outside the door while Ted dresses in American football gear. As Dougal painfully attempts to make conversation, Ted dresses in protective American football gear as he wakes Jack up to tell him that they have a visitor. As a result, Ted goes crashing through the window but insists to Dougal and Paul that the fire is almost out.

That night as they lie in their beds, Dougal asks Ted how he and Paul first met. Ted says he was at a conference and was introduced to him by fellow priest Jim Dougan, who then ran straight out of the building. He also talks about the fact that Paul has visited them every year for the past six years and to avoid him the priests spent five days in the attic. Ted is hopeful that he will be gone by the time his birthday comes but three weeks later Paul is still there, causing Ted, Dougal, Jack, Mrs. Doyle and their fellow priests to be extremely uncomfortable in his presence, due to the protracted silence. Billy Kerrigan breaks the silence by saying he needs to leave and asks if anyone else needs a lift. The other priests shoot their hands up and rush for the door but Ted calls Dougal back as he also attempts to leave.

At his wit's end, Ted prays to God asking Him to do something about Paul. Some days later, Ted and Dougal play a round of crazy golf in torrential rain at the island's lone golf course (which consists of a single windmill) in a bid to avoid spending more time with Paul. Unfortunately, Paul shows up and Ted tries to get him involves by handing him the golf club. However, the moment Paul raises it hr is struck by a massive bolt of lightning.

As a result, Paul lands in hospital and while a worried Ted and Dougal wait for news, they encounter the O'Learys, who have been through the mills themeselves. Mary is on crutches but passes off her injury as a sprained ankle while John has a bloody bandage around his head. He passes off his injury as Mary nicking him with a wife and not as a head wound. They express concern for Paul and leave, only to start badmouthing each other and arguing until it results in Mary kicking John when they leave the reception area. Meanwhile, Ted and Dougal have been complimenting the couple and Dougal asks Ted about how he got into the priesthood. Ted reveals that smarter brother became a doctor while the idiot brother became a priest, which leads Dougal to point out that Ted's brother is a doctor.

As Jack runs by with the nurses in pursuit, the doctor tells them he has been poisoned by Harpic and Babycham. The same doctor comes back to them later to give an update on Paul's condition. Ted thinks he is okay but the doctor says he should be concerned as Paul is failing to react to stimulus. Ted says it is common with priests and hits Dougal on the head with a pen. The latter fails to react for a minute and then looks around him.

Ted asks if they can see Paul and the doctor leads them into a room where they see Paul is still in the position that he was in when the lightning struck him. Dougal remarks that he looks like a golf trophy and Ted agrees. The latter helps the doctor place Paul and the bed and the latter's parents and grandmother arrive. Mrs. Stone tells Ted that Paul always looks forward to his visits, crossing off the days on a calendar and has even painted a picture of him and Ted, with the latter adorned in a halo. Mr. Stone, on the other hand, apologises to Ted for Paul having been so much trouble and says it probably would have been better if he had died, which shocks Ted. Suddenly, they hear a beeping noise and Mrs. Stone thinks it is Paul's heart. Ted tries to get it restarted, only to see that the sound is coming from Dougal's digital watch.

As Mr. and Mrs. Stone and his grandmother leave, the latter shoots Ted a look and signals to him. She tells him that she knows what he is up to and leaves. Ted tells Dougal what she said and says that old people are like that. He decides to pray for Paul's recovery and ends u pleading with God to make Paul better and that he will do anything. Suddenly, Paul sits up and Ted asks him if he would like anything but Paul responds in his monosyllabic way that he is fine.

The episode ends with him back in the parochial house with the priests and Mrs. Doyle. As everyone sits in silence, Paul finally cracks a smile.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Trivia

  • The episode's title is a play on the name of the play Entertaining Mr Sloane by playwright Joe Orton.

Production

  • Arthur Mathews introduces this episode by stating that the idea for Father Stone came from a 'friend' of a friend who stayed with the friend for his holidays and used to cheat at golf. This person had the ability to dominate and ruin the atmosphere of a room.
  • The picture Father Stone paints of himself and Ted can be seen on the wall, in the living room, in later episodes. There is a slight continuity error in this episode, the JVC video recorder which was given to Ted and Dougal as a gift in the following episode can be seen on top of the television.
  • Mathews makes a cameo appearance as a guest at Ted's birthday party. This episode is Mathews's favourite, and was given the prominent position of airing as the series's second episode for this reason. The character of Father Stone is based on a man who repeatedly invited himself to visit two of Mathews's friends; according to Mathews, the visitor was eager to see the couple, but never made any attempt to be good company.
  • Linehan and Mathews clashed with the art department on this episode: the writers wanted the show's hospitals and police stations modern, to contrast with Craggy Island's environs, but they ended up looking similarly rural and beaten-down.
  • Kate Binchy, the actress who played Father Stone's mother, became ill shortly before filming was due to begin. The production had insufficient time to find a replacement, and resorted to casting Pauline McLynn in the role. McLynn was prepared to play the part, and was in full make-up and costume on the day of filming; however, Binchy recovered at the last minute and was able to take the role. The writers later noted that they would have "gotten away with it" since Mrs Doyle had hardly been shown at this point in the series, but that it would have been the "oddest thing in the world" on repeated viewings.


Series 1
#101 "Good Luck, Father Ted" #104 "Competition Time"
#102 "Entertaining Father Stone" #105 "And God Created Woman"
#103 "The Passion of Saint Tibulus" #106 "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest"
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