Escape from Victory
Series 3, Episode 5
Escape from Victory
Air date April 10, 1998
Episode Guide
< previous
The Mainland
next >
Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse
Escape from Victory is the fifth episode of the final series of Father Ted.  It is the first of a two-part episode.


Father Ted comes up with a scheme to win a football match against Father Dick Byrne.


Dougal returns home to find Ted searching the parochial house frantically, because he believed they've been bugged by Dick Byrne, ahead of the annual "All-Priests Five-a-Side Over-75's Indoor Challenge Football Match" between teams from Craggy Island and Rugged Island (yet another excuse for rivalry between Ted and Dick, who manage the opposing sides). With Mrs. Doyle fearing that Ted has "gone mad" with paranoia, Dougal brings him back to sanity by throwing a glass of water in Ted's face, repeatedly.

Ted thanks Dougal, saying he's been so worried about Dick discovering his tactics that he couldn't sleep, and had to drink Dreamy Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze, an "alcoholic chocolate sleeping aid" which is in banned most European countries, "so that means it's very good", according to Ted. Dougal then walks outside to get an ice cream from the ice cream van that's been outside the garden for some time; at that moment, the van speeds away, driven by Dick (who's heard the entire conversation through the bug).

At training with the Craggy Island team the following day, Ted gets very agitated with the team's lack of concentration, even though most of them seem too old to play competitive football. Jack, one of their star players (Dougal thinks he once had a trial for Liverpool before Ted informs him that he was actually on trial in Liverpool) hasn't turned up to training, and his strike partner, Father Nick, has just died.

At the church, seeing Nick's body, Ted talks to Fr. Niall Haverty, then notices Nick's expensive, technologically-advanced coffin that Niall has bought, along with a pair of fake hands and a remote-controlled wheelchair, and Ted tells Niall he should stop throwing money away on useless impulse buys, which would only be of use in a "completely ludicrous situation". Talking about his team's injury problems, Ted admits that fears defeat even more because of the forfeit system he and Dick use; the previous year, Ted had to photocopy his rear end (at the library) after Craggy Island lost, resulting him being banned for life in the library. Matters are not helped by the fact Dick phones the church and taunts Ted. When Ted asks how Dick knew where he was, the line goes dead and an ice-cream van jingle plays. Ted is furious to learn he has been spied upon.

Back home, Ted delicately tells Dougal that he is downgrading him from team physio using the 'Magic Sponge' to guarding the corner flags from being stolen. Dougal, however, is proud to accept this "big responsibility", although fears that it's harder than it looks. Mrs Doyle, meanwhile, has been unenthusiastic about the upcoming match, not seeing the point in football; " a load of men kicking a bit of leather round a field", says she. Ted tries to change her mind by giving her a handbook, Understanding Football, for Women (whose cover looks like a romance novel's) – she agrees to "give it a go". Ted then suddenly realises that Jack has been asleep for 14 days, which is unusual, even for him, and then finds the Dreamy Sleepy Nightie Snoozy Snooze – Jack has drunk the entire bottle.

On match day, Dick belittles Craggy Island's chances of winning, introducing his new Italian player, Fr. Romeo Sensini, who is slightly fitter than the other over-75 players. Ted has brought his team in the back of a van, and Jack still hasn't woken up. Ted says "I can't believe we're in this completely... ludicrous... situation!", then comes up with a way his team can still win.

Father Jack enters the gym on Niall's remote-control wheelchair, followed by Ted, who has the controls inside his coat, pretending the fake hands are his own. In the (very slow) match, Craggy Island go 1–0 down (to a penalty scored by Sensini), with Mrs Doyle and all her friends now fanatically supporting Craggy Island, after reading the book. After half-time, Jack's wheelchair trundles through Rugged Island's defence, and he unwittingly scores to equalise. Late in the game, Fr. Cullen eventually scores into an open goal, and Craggy Island win 2–1. Dougal also "beats" Cyril by not letting him steal the corner flag as a souvenir.

In the dressing room afterwards, Dick is given his forfeit: he has to kiss Cyril on the cheek (Ted playing on Dick's notorious homophobia). However, Dougal offers Ted champagne just as the referee enters; he notices that Ted's hands are fake. Craggy Island's victory is annulled for cheating, so Dick gets to make Ted perform the forfeit after all. So, in a letter, Dick says, because he was "such a big cheating bastard", Ted must, by this time next week, "kick Bishop Brennan up the arse!".


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • The title is a pun on the 1981 football movie Escape to Victory, about a football game played between prisoners of war and their guards in World War II.
  • The frantic searching for bugs by Ted is stated by the writers in their scripts' book to be an allusion to the ending of the film The Conversation.
  • Ted's angry ranting as a football manager is resemblant of three 1990s British documentaries about football: Cutting Edge's "Graham Taylor: The Impossible Job" (1994), about Graham Taylor and England; Orient for a Fiver (1995), about John Sitton (and, to a much lesser extent, Chris Turner) and Leyton Orient; and Premier Passions (1998), about Peter Reid and F.C. Sunderland. All three of these documentaries contained a lot of swearing, from football managers leading struggling teams.
  • Dougal refers to murdered Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace, saying: "You remember that fella, who was so good at fashion, they had to shoot him?" Versace was shot dead by American spree killer Andrew Cunanan outside his Miami Beach home on July 15, 1997.



  • Ted remarks that Father Jack has been non-stop asleep for 14 days after he drank the "Dreamy Sleepy Nighty Snoozy Snooze". However, Jack is seen awake at the beginning of the episode (the day previous) shaving as Ted attempts to trace Dick's bug.

Series 3
#301 "Are You Right There, Father Ted? #305 "Escape from Victory"
#302 "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep" #306 "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse"
#303 "Speed 3" #307 "Night of the Nearly Dead"
#304 "The Mainland" #308 "Going to America"
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+