Competition Time

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"Competition Time"
Father Ted episode
Episode no. Series 1
Episode 4
Directed by Declan Lowney
Written by
Featured music The Divine Comedy
Original air date 12 May 1995 (1995-05-12)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Father Ted episodes

"Competition Time" is the fourth episode of the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.


The annual "All Priests Stars in Their Eyes Lookalike Competition" is approaching, and Ted, Dougal, and Jack are preparing for their entries, though Ted is dismayed they all dressed like Elvis Presley. Father Dick Byrne, Ted's rival from the Rugged Island parochial house, calls up Ted and taunts him that the Rugged Island priests will win this year. Ted insists that since the guest judge, TV presented Henry Sellers, is staying at the Craggy Island parochial house, that he will have a better change to win.

Henry arrives with Father Barty Dunne, a priests that laughs at the slightest of things, and has left Henry in a foul mood after the four-hour drive. Ted attempts to offer Henry anything he wants to try to gain favor, but Henry appears unimpressed and considers staying at the Rugged Island house. Mrs Doyle offers Henry a drink of sherry before bed. Henry goes on a drunken rampage after the single drink, destroying the house's living room before jumping out the window. Barty reports that Henry has been a raging alcoholic which led to him being sacked by the BBC, but had been sober for a year. Ted, Dougal, and the local police track down Henry and tranquilize him, and return him to the house, telling him nothing happened after he regains consciousness.

On the day of the contest, Dick calls up Ted again and suggests a wager on the contest, which Ted accepts. However, they find Jack is in a drunken stupor, seemingly unable to perform, but this gives Ted an idea. At the contest, Dick and his priests perform as Diana Ross and two of the Supremes. The Craggy Island parochial house act follows, which is a tribute to the three ages of Elvis: the young version (performed by Dougal), the comeback version (by Ted), and his later years (by a half-awake Jack). Herny gives Craggy Island's show the victory. Back at the parochial house, Dick stubbornly pays Ted his winnings and leaves. Mrs Doyle offers a glass of champagne for everyone, and as soon as Henry takes a sip, he goes on another drunken rampage. Ted tells Dougal they'll go look for Henry again in the morning and spend the time to appreciate their tiny trophy for winning.


The character of Henry Sellers was based on a well-known English TV personality who enjoyed drink; the writers heard from a friend in Hat Trick Productions that they had seen the presenter come home drunk one day and fall into a bush. This gave them the idea of a presenter character who is powerfully affected by alcohol. Jean Ainslie, who plays a woman on Sellers's game show, was cast based on her performance in The Day Today.[1]

Linehan regrets the storyline involving multiple characters dressing as Elvis Presley, and considers it a typical sign of running out of ideas, and a particularly bad one in a programme's first series. One influence was Stars in Their Eyes, which was popular at the time of writing.[1]

This episode introduces Father Dick Byrne, Father Cyril McDuff, Father Jim Johnson and their housekeeper, inhabitants of the nearby Rugged Island Parochial House, who bear a close resemblance to Ted, Dougal, Jack and Mrs Doyle. Maurice O'Donoghue, who plays Father Dick, was the writers' second choice for the role of Ted, being the right age and having a similar look and lightness. Mathews always preferred Dermot Morgan; Linehan was initially reluctant, fearing he would play Ted the same as his previous character "Father Trendy", but Morgan lobbied hard for the role. Linehan stated that they would have named the character differently if the possible sexual connotations of "Dick Byrne" had occurred to them.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Linehan, Graham; Mathews, Arthur. Father Ted DVD Commentaries (Podcast). United Kingdom: Channel 4. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 

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