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21st Apr 2020

Most underrated Father Ted characters – the definitive ranking

Sarah Finnan

most underrated Father Ted characters

Father Ted fans will know that there are two very important dates to make note of on the calendar – the first being July 19th (the day the Ice Age ended), the second being today, April 21st.

Celebrating a milestone birthday, Father Ted turns 25 years young today. The series that is, not the character. Shame on you for forgetting.

One of the most iconic pieces of Irish television, a quarter of a century on and it’s just as funny as the day it aired… if not even more so. Not ones to let a birthday go by uncelebrated, we’re honouring the occasion by looking back at some of our favourite episodes, moments and most importantly characters – in particular, those who fly slightly under the radar.

We’re all well-versed in the glory of Mrs Doyle’s Irish mammy-isms and the always iconic Father Dougal McGuire (the gift that keeps on giving). But what about the less well-known characters? Of which there are plenty.

Diving deep into the archives of obscure Irish TV characters, we revisited the series to compile a list of what we deem to be the most underrated Father Ted characters – and trust us, they’re a bunch of cowboys, the lot of them.

10. Father Dick Byrne

Ted’s arch-nemesis, the exact origins of their feud is unknown though there is mention of a rather savage game of Scrabble when Father Dick Byrne managed to make his tiles spell out “useless priest can’t say mass”. That would set anyone off in fairness.

9. Mary and John

These two count as one character in our eyes – there may be two of them but they come as a package deal, and let’s face it – neither one is funny without the other. The poster couple for why marriage may not be for everyone. Get them feckin’ crunchies out of the car.

8. Father Deegan

Before he was Dr. Owen Hunt on Grey’s Anatomy, Kevin McKidd played Scottish priest Father Deegan on Father Ted. Making an appearance in A Christmassy Ted, the pressure of being trapped in Ireland’s largest lingerie section proves to be too much for Father Deegan who has a meltdown and needs to be consoled by Ted.

7. Mrs Dineen

A fond friend of Mrs Doyle’s, many would question just how two the close are after they land themselves in jail thanks to a scrap over who’d pay the bill. If only all our friends were so generous…

6. Father Austin Purcell

The “most boring priest in the world”, the entire population of a Nigerian village once sailed to their deaths to escape him… at least if Ted is to be believed. Father Jack is not a fan.

5. Father Larry Duff

Ah, poor Father Larry. He always seems to land himself in a bind, doesn’t he? Usually through no fault of his own. Between breaking almost every bone in his body in a skiing accident and driving his car off a cliff he’s very lucky to be alive. Though some might say losing out on a 10k cash prize on a game show is one of his more unfortunate mishaps.

4. Father Todd Unctious

Todd Unctious stands as proof of what happens when good priests go bad. Most iconic moment: when he wanders into Ted and Dougal’s bedroom at 1am, stripped down to his skivvies, delivering the line “well, here we all are now, all the lads”.

3. Father Damo Lennon

Father Damo leads Dougal down quite a troublesome path, bringing out his inner moody teenager. Possibly the funniest friendship of the series. Let’s settle this once and for all though… Oasis or Blur?

2. Noel Furlong

Played by Graham Norton, Father Noel Furlong appears in three episodes of the show – his best being in The Mainland episode when Ted and Dougal happen upon Noel in Aillwee Caves. Special mention goes to his one-man performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. Better than the original… some might say.

1. Sister Assumpta

Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading is up there as one of the best episodes for me. From the line “you were wearing your blue jumper” to Sister Assumpta’s rigorous Lenten regime, there are several standout moments deserving of a mention. However, it’s the image of Sister Assumpta sprawled on the living room floor covered in chocolate that will always haunt us. A scene that is mirrored in Irish households across the country on Easter morning… far too relatable.

By far Ireland’s most quotable sitcom, with Derry Girls a close second. No doubts you’ll all have your own opinions on the most underrated Father Ted characters, but to quote another iconic character… “I’ve had my fun and that’s all that matters”.

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