Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse

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"Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse"
Father Ted episode
A priest, dressed in black, kicks a bishop in a purple cassock in the backside as he bends down.
Ted carries out his forfeit
Episode no. Series 3
Episode 6
Directed by Andy DeEmmony
Written by Graham Linehan
Arthur Mathews
Original air date 17 April 1998
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Escape from Victory"
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"Night of the Nearly Dead"
List of Father Ted episodes

"Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse" is the sixth episode of the third series of the sitcom Father Ted, and the 23rd episode overall. It originally aired on Channel 4 on 17 April 1998; its story continues from the previous episode, "Escape from Victory". In the episode, the main character Father Ted Crilly must kick his strict and overbearing superior Bishop Brennan in the buttocks ("up the arse") as a forfeit set in the previous episode by Father Dick Byrne for cheating at a football match.

The writers of Father Ted, Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, named "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse" as their favourite episode in a documentary aired during Channel 4's Father Ted Night; "Speed 3" was chosen by a vote on the Channel 4 website.[1]


Ted is extremely worried about the forfeit that Dick Byrne has set him, and is convinced that Bishop Brennan will send him to a parish that's even worse than Craggy Island after he kicks him "up the arse." Dick has insisted that Father Dougal take a photograph as proof; he also calls Brennan, saying that a likeness of him has miraculously appeared in the skirting board of the Craggy Island parochial house, so the bishop arranges to visit Ted as soon as possible.

After Ted stays up worrying all night, he and Dougal are surprised by the early arrival of Bishop Brennan and his assistant Father Jessup, "the most sarcastic priest in Ireland". Mrs. Doyle is confused by Jessop's sarcasm, so Ted explains to always do the opposite of what he says. When they go to look at the image, Ted is working himself up to administer the kick but is almost caught in the act by Father Jessup and instead hurls himself out of a window. Brennan and Jessup prepare to leave but are forced to stay another night when Mrs Doyle informs them that the roads have been "taken in."

Dougal suggests to a very worried Ted that he should kick Bishop Brennan and act as if nothing had happened, reasoning that, since Ted would never kick Bishop Brennan under normal circumstances, he may be able to get away with it as Bishop Brennan would never believe Ted would do such a thing. The next day Ted brings the Bishop to see the skirting board again, where Dougal has drawn a crude, simple likeness of the Bishop's face. As the Bishop bends down, Ted finally kicks him as Dougal simultaneously takes a photo of Ted's kick. Bishop Brennan is shocked into a catatonic state that lasts well beyond the duration of his visit. Meanwhile, Father Jessup falls foul of Father Jack and ends up locked in Jack's underpants hamper. He begs Mrs. Doyle to let him out; however, heeding Ted's earlier advice, Mrs. Doyle leaves him inside.

After a few glasses of sparking wine, Ted gets drunk and orders Dougal to have several copies of the photograph made (including a "10 by 10" for himself). Brennan snaps out of his stupor just as he is due to greet the Pope in the Vatican, and flies back to Craggy Island in extreme anger. Despite Brennan's rage, Ted eventually manages to convince him that he did not do it. On his way out, however, Brennan sees a massive version of the photograph that Dougal had made (having thought that Ted wanted a 10-by-10 foot picture rather than inches), and gets his revenge on Ted by booting him across a field.

At the end of the episode Father Jessup, having been stuck in the hamper for several days, meekly calls "I'm really enjoying this."

Cultural references[edit]

The writers drew inspiration for the episode's storyline from the Seinfeld episode "The Revenge", in which the character George regrets quitting his job and Jerry suggests that he return and pretend he had never quit, and a story involving the Belgian painter René Magritte kicking his sister's fiancé to gauge his reaction;[2] other versions of the story involve a friend of his wife's or a Time magazine interviewer.[3][4]

Irish author Eugene O'Brien titled his book studying Irish culture based on popular literary and media works after this episode.[5]

The episode's cold open recap sequence is a parody of NYPD Blue's "shaky camera" technique, and its post-credits scene, in which Father Jessup flicks his lighter on and off inside Jack's underpants hamper, is a reference to The Vanishing.[2] The episode also features Brennan comparing Father Jack to the Kraken, a legendary sea monster, and a reference to a previous forfeit of Byrne's involving him saying "bollocks" in front of Irish president Mary Robinson.


  1. ^ "Writers' Favourite Episode". Father Ted Night. 1 January 2011. Channel 4. 
  2. ^ a b Linehan, Graham. DVD commentary for "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse" in Father Ted: The Definitive Collection. 2 Entertain.
  3. ^ "Magritte. The false mirror". Arts on Film Archive. University of Westminster. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "René Magritte, "Dangerous Liaisons" (at the Blain/Di Donna Gallery)". GroundReport. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  5. ^ O'Brien, Eugene. Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse. Peter Lang. ISBN 9783039115396. 

External links[edit]