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 by kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse.
Episode no.Series 3
Episode 6
Directed byAndy DeEmmony
Written byGraham Linehan
Arthur Mathews
Original air date17 April 1998
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Escape from Victory"
Next →
"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, and is convinced that Bishop Brennan will send him to a parish even worse than Craggy Island after he kicks him "up the arse". Dick Byrne has insisted that Father Dougal take a photograph as proof, and to provide an opportunity for Ted to carry out the forfeit, calls Brennan to tell him that his likeness has miraculously appeared in the skirting board of the Craggy Island parochial house. Bishop Brennan 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" – his sarcasm confuses their housekeeper, Mrs Doyle, and tests Father Jack's temper. Ted takes the Bishop to see the image (which the bishop does not see) and prepares to kick him, but after seeing Jessup watching him, he aborts the kick and instead hurls himself through the window. Brennan and Jessup prepare to leave but are forced to stay the night when Mrs Doyle informs them that the roads have been "taken in".

Dougal suggests to Ted that he should kick Bishop Brennan and act as if nothing had happened, reasoning that Brennan would never believe Ted, who fears Brennan, capable of such an act. The next day, Ted brings the Bishop to see the skirting board again. Before they enter, Jack tricks Jessup into entering his room, after stealing a bottle of wine from the bishop, and ends up locking Jessup in his underpants hamper. Without Jessup watching, Ted shows Bishop Brennan the skirting board, which now has a crude watercolour painting (courtesy of Dougal) on it, depicting a man in a bishop's hat. While Brennan looks at the picture, Ted kicks him up the arse as hard as possible, and Dougal takes a photograph. Bishop Brennan is shocked into a catatonic state that lasts well beyond the duration of his visit. Ted gets drunk and orders Dougal to have several copies of the photograph made, including a giant 10x10 foot version for himself. Brennan snaps out of his stupor just as he is due to greet the Pope in the Vatican, and after telling the Pope "He did kick me up the arse!" and shoving him out of his way, he boards a flight back to Craggy Island in extreme anger. Despite Brennan's rage, Ted manages to convince him that he did not do it. On his way out, however, Brennan sees the enormous, 10x10 foot version of the photograph that Dougal had made, and gets his revenge on Ted by chasing him and then booting him across a field after he trips up.

At the very end, Father Jessup is still locked in Jack's underpants hamper, and tries to have Mrs Doyle get him out, by complaining "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. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  5. ^ O'Brien, Eugene. Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse. Peter Lang. ISBN 9783039115396.

External links[edit]