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The Passion of Saint Tibulus
Series 1, Episode 3
The Passion of St Tibulus
Air date May 5, 1995
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The Passion of Saint Tibulus is the third episode of Series 1 of Father Ted.

Synopsis

Father Ted and Dougal protest a blasphemous new film on the orders of Bishop Len Brennan who has a terrible secret.

Story

The priests are hosting Cuban priest Father Hernandez and playing a game of "Cluedo". Ted tells him about their supervisor Bishop Len Brennan, including the rumours that he has a son in America who was born via his former housekeeper. Hernandez says their oath of celibacy is hard and he gives Mrs. Doyle a look when she brings the tea. Brennan then phones Ted to announce that he will be paying a visit to the parochial house the next day. Dougal finds the pack of cards empty and they realise they have been playing the game for three hours without deal the cards.

The following day as Hernandez prepares to leave, he gives Ted and Dougal gifts made by the people from his homeland. To Dougal he gives a VCR and apologizes for it only having a two-week pre-record function and to Ted he presents something even more special - a Cuban fertility statue. Ted is taken aback but thanks him for it. Hernandez puts on his sunglasses, says his goodbye and speeds off in his Porsche. As Dougal is hooking up the VCR, Ted warns him not to say anything to Bishop Brennan about his son.

Later that day, Bishop Brennan pays them a visit, having just recently returned from California. The atmosphere turns awkward when Bishop Brennan spots the fertility statue on top of the TV and Dougal blurts out about his son. Bishop Brennan gets down to business by telling the priests about an erotic film called The Passion of Saint Tibulus, which has premiered on the island. Dougal asks him if he knows it is any good but Bishop Brennan does not care about that and tells them the Pope has banned it virtually everywhere. However, a loophole means it is showing on the island. Bishop Brennan orders Ted and Dougal to protest against it in the hope it gets pulled from the local cinema.

The two priests attend a screening which is being seen by two other people, one of whom walks out before it begins. The cinema owner, Michael Cocheese, is surprised to see the priests there and they tell him that Bishop Brennan has sent them to protest against the film. Cocheese does not like Bishop Brennan and tells the priests not to cause too much fuss so as not to disturb the other attendees.

The following morning, the priests discuss the film as they lie in bed and both are shocked about the amount of nudity with Ted saying it made no sense. Suddenly, a furious Bishop Brennan bursts through the door and the priests are soon back protesting outside the cinema, complete with placards. However, the place does not open for a few more hours and since they are unable to leave Ted tells Dougal to go to the shop and purchase a pair of handcuffs for the railing and does so from the O'Learys who are having another argument before Dougal shows up. There is some confusion when he tells John and Mary that the handcuffs are for him and Ted, but he gets them nonetheless.

Back outside the cinema, the priests start their protest by chanting the words on their placards but soon realise that the fuss they are making is causing more residents to become more interested in seeing the film. Back at the parochial house, Jack is rebuked by Bishop Brennan for not being at the protest and says that he cannot find his bag and leaves. Jack has it and rummages though it, finding a camcorder with a video, which he tosses aide and, much to his delight, a bottle of Jack Daniels. Clearly delighted, Michael Cocheese tells Ted and Dougal that he has not seen as big an attendance for a single film since Jurassic Park before Jack shows up to watch the film. Ted decides to give up but since Dougal did not know keys come with handcuffs there is no way of freeing themselves.

Later they are back in their living room, still handcuffed to the railing with Bishop Brennan rebuking them. It turns out that their protest has made the film the most successful ever screened on the island. He produces a poster which includes Jack giving it two thumbs up. He produces a globe and says it would be better for the priests to continue their work elsewhere. Ted gets excited when Bishop Brennan decides to send him to America as he chooses Las Vegas, but Bishop Brennan corrects himself by saying he will be sent to Suriname. For Dougal, he suggests a place in the Philippines with no sewage system but when he comes to Jack, who he tells to wake up, Ted tries to warn him that it is not a good idea but Bishop Brennan tells him to shut up and tries to call him again. Jack's eyes fly open and Bishop Brennan ends up being punched in the nose. Both shocked and angry, he tells Ted and Dougal that he is not finished with them and leaves.

Ted and Dougal sit on the couch and the latter says he does not want to leave as he does not even know where the Philippines are. Jack puts a video in the VCR and Ted says the last thing he wants to watch is another film, but it turns out to be a video from Bishop Brennan's trip to California as it shows him at the beach with his son and mistress. This cheers Ted and Dougal up with the former asking if they should call Bishop Brennan or watch the video again. They choose the latter and Ted signals to Jack to play it again.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Trivia

  • Bishop Brennan's scandal mirrors that of Eamonn Casey in the 1990s.
  • The vague protest signs carried by Ted and Dougal are among the show's most recognised jokes. This is acknowledged in the closing montage of the final episode, where the slogans are the only soundbite used.
  • The signs were referred to by Green Party leader John Gormley - on 28 June 2010 - to describe his view that the Labour Party have little or no polices. He accused the Labour Party of saying "Down with this sort of thing" without providing their alternative.
  • During a number of high profile UK protests including the Pope's state visit to the September 2010 and student protests against tuition fee rises in November 2010, as well as protests against the Irish EU bailout and austerity measures in November 2010, several protesters displayed banners saying "Down with this sort of thing" and "Careful now".
  • The line is referenced in the 2013 video game Grand Theft Auto V, where a protester is seen carrying a "Down with this sort of thing" sign.
  • This marks the first time that Bishop Brennan has been attacked when he was punched by Jack followed by Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse which was committed by Ted

Production

  • The episode's central theme is ineffectual protest. The plot of the Church's opposition to a blasphemous film was inspired by the reaction to several real-world films, including Sebastiane, Hail Mary and Monty Python's Life of Brian; the latter was banned in Ireland upon its release, so Linehan joined a film club specifically to get a chance to watch it.
  • This episode was the second to be recorded, and the writers originally planned to air it first; they later moved it to second, feeling that "Good Luck, Father Ted" would make a better introduction, and finally moved it to third because of Mathews's particular love for "Entertaining Father Stone".The cinema used was the Cinema by the Sea in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. It continued to operate until July 2007, when it closed due to commercial difficulties.
  • One of the writers' early ideas for the series was that every priest in the world knows every other personally; this idea is introduced in the opening scene with the Cuban priest Father Hernandez. When Hernandez speaks in Spanish, he is clumsily dubbed over by an English translator, which the Craggy Islanders can inexplicably hear and understand – an idea Linehan considered "just this side of being too mad to do". The translator's voice is provided by producer Geoffrey Perkins.
  • This episode introduced the recurring character of Bishop Brennan, who was initially based on Eamon Casey, and later on Michael Cleary. The writers cast Jim Norton after seeing him as Wentworth in the 1995 Frasier episode "The Club"; Mathews has also heard his reading of James Joyce's Ulysses. The writers always felt that Bishop Brennan was Father Jack's nemesis, as Jack himself had the potential to become a bishop, but never did because we was not a career priest.
  • The scenes with Ted and Dougal sharing a bedroom were inspired by similar scenes in the Morecambe and Wise shows. The writers used these scenes for end-of-the-day conversations to wrap up the story, and to provide a sort of "safe zone" for Ted and Dougal to discuss the plot. Linehan and Mathews had to cut laughs in some scenes because the studio audience incorrectly thought they were making sex jokes.


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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