|Series 2, Episode 7|
|Air date||April 19, 1996|
| < previous|
| next >|
Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading
Father Ted hosts the "Lovely Girls Festival 96" , while Dougal gives the parochial house away to a visiting feminist.
Ted and Dougal see feminist musician Niamh Connolly on the television, accusing the Catholic Church of multiple atrocious but highly improbable acts during the Great Famine. She then sings a radically feminist, anti-clerical song with the lyrics signed for TV viewers. Ted and Dougal loudly dismiss all of this. Meanwhile Mrs Doyle declares that the Church has always been good to her, while she is preoccupied with various heavy labour tasks around the parochial house in addition to her regular housework as the men relax in front of the television.
Ted is asked to be a judge in the Lovely Girls competition, and brings Jack along for the day. Due to Jack's atypical long hair, he resembles Bob Geldof and proceeds to imitate him by beginning a collection for Live Aid—any proceeds going directly to Jack himself. When Ted finds out, he tells off Jack asking, "What would Queen think, and Peter Gabriel and all those acts who were on earlier in the day? And what about Phil Collins flying all the way to Boston?", prompting a vicious punch in the stomach by Jack.
This results in Ted showing up at the contest breathing heavily as he welcomes the girls. The contest revolves around various self-parodying imitations of typical events (sandwich construction, walking, laughing) with Imelda ultimately deemed the winner by Ted. Her prize is a meal with Ted in Craggy Island's "top secret" Thai restaurant, The Thai Cottage, out of her own wallet.
While Ted is out, Niamh Connolly comes to visit. Dougal invites her in and (technically following some advice Ted gave him) asks her if she would like to remove her bra. He then attempts to make a cup of tea for her but concedes defeat with Mrs Doyle busy elsewhere.
When Ted returns, he is dismayed to discover that Dougal has managed to sign over the parochial house to Niamh behind his back. Niamh asks Ted and Dougal to leave; this is further strongly encouraged by her two bodyguards. Spending the night in a tent outside the house Ted asked Dougal how he let this happen. Dougal says he was following Ted's instructions about dealing with women: He had tried to talk about clothes and make her comfortable (by asking her to remove her bra) and he had given her what she had wanted (the house). Ted leaves a pen and notebook outside the tent, in the hope that God will write the answer to their problem overnight.
As expected this doesn't happen, so Ted returns to the house and negotiates with Niamh. Just as he is telling her about the "good work" that goes on in the parish, another priest comes in, asking Ted which dress he prefers out of two he has in his arms. Niamh does not know the dresses are for Imelda, and thinks the priest is going to wear them himself. Ted says the dresses are both equally good, and after the priest gratefully departs, he tells Niamh that Craggy Island is a place where priests who lead all sorts of lifestyles can live free from hypocrisy and intolerance.
A noise is heard upstairs and Jack comes barging into the room. He sees Niamh and yells "Woman!" before Ted pushes him out of the room and hastily attempts to disguise this sudden intrusion as "Father Billy" expressing his positive views on women priests. Jack is seen at the window behind Niamh leering lustily at her. Imploring Niamh to return the house, Ted makes the mistake of saying he is a huge fan who has all her records; she agrees to give him back the house as soon as she has signed all the records.
Ted rushes off to John and Mary's shop where he luckily finds most of her discography. Whilst Niamh is signing them, an exhausted Mrs Doyle appears saying that she has finished with the pipes and she will get on with the rest of her chores, even though she is visibly worn out. Ted interrupts in an attempt to save the day but is hit across the chest by the pile of records thrown by Niamh.
The next scene shows Imelda, Niamh and Mrs Doyle dining in the Thai restaurant. Mrs Doyle is agitated about having left the priests home alone but Niamh urges her to enjoy herself. She reveals she has returned thehouse to Ted and Dougal in return for Mrs Doyle having one night off every week, and urges the other two to relax and enjoy themselves as there are "no men around, sisters, we can do as we like." However, as Mrs Doyle nervously attempts to use her chopsticks to pick up a bite of food, Niamh suddenly erupts in fury, screaming "Is that meat??!" Mrs. Doyle is utterly discomfited. Imelda inquires with bafflement, "Do I still have to pay for this?"
The credits roll and Ted and Dougal are shown in the kitchen struggling to put out a fire which has broken out. Ted screams, "I just want a cup of tea!" and the pair break down in tears.
- Dermot Morgan as Ted Crilly
- Ardal O'Hanlon as Dougal McGuire
- Frank Kelly as Jack Hackett
- Pauline McLynn as Mrs. Doyle
- Clare Grogan as Niamh Connolly
- Alan Shortt as Interviewer
- Maggie Conway as Deaf Signer
- Dermot Crowley as Liam Deliverance
- Dawn Bradfield as Imelda
- The Lovely Girls competition is a parody of the Rose of Tralee competition, which takes place every August in Tralee, County Kerry. A contest called "The Lovely Girls" existed during the 1950s in Butlins Mosney holiday camp and, as in the episode, was held in a tent with the contestants dressing in a similar way.
- Niamh Connolly is based on Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor, who famously criticised the Catholic Church in the 1990s.