Father Ted Mug
From its complicated tunes to its extravagant clothing, the Eurovision Tune Contest is ripe for parody. And 27 years ago Father Ted lampooned it in remarkable style.
Initially airing in April 1996 as part of the 2nd series, ‘A Song For Europe’ stays among the comedy’s most precious minutes.
‘Dougal, get the guitar’
At Father Ted’s parochial house, Dougal has got “Euro-song fever” he suggests to Ted that they ought to bid to represent Ireland in the competition.
Ted insists they have not got the skill, however upon hearing that sly Father Dick Byrne is getting in on the action, Ted’s ego forces him go get involved.
It’s reasonable to say that Ted and Dougal’s song-writing process does not run efficiently.
Composing an ode to a rural animal is certainly a challenge at the very best of times, and their tune ‘My Lovely Horse’ was no exception. Dougal misunderstands the nature of the title, and it must be explained to him that it means they’re friends with the horse, not that they’re in love with it.
Over the unfolding hours, Ted degenerates into a cliché of the rock n roll song writing stupor! “Play the f *** ing note,” he rants, through a haze of cigarette smoke; empty wrappers and drink cans strewn around them.
Did you know, the real author of the song was Neil Hannon?
The song slowly pieces itself together with lyrics such as “fetlocks blowing in the wind”, “horse dentist” and a badly discordant tune to choose it.
Father Jack, never ever one to mince his words, does not even trouble with a “feck”, “arse” or “eejit”. He merely blows up Ted’s guitar into pieces with a shotgun.
” The lyrics are great, no issue there,” sighs Ted, optimistically. What will they do about the music?
Hoping for inspiration Dougal plays his favourite record, an odd pop number by “Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes” which completed fifth in A Song For Norway in 1976.
So odd that Ted assumes no one will ever understand if they merely copy the tune and set it with their lyrics for My Lovely Horse. Particularly as the band, their supervisor and everybody included with the tune passed away in an airplane crash years previously.
With a shrewd strategy properly hatched, the priests set their eyes on fame.
Filled with glee, Dougal dreams about their little ditty being changed into a hit pop video, with a music video including a ‘sexy’ swimming pool scene, and a psychedelic solo.
The song was appealing, hummable excellence. So, what happened?
A Song For Ireland
When the competition day in Dublin lastly comes to select Ireland’s entry, Ted is besieged by nerves, especially after hearing his own song, or rather Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes’ song, in the elevator at the show.
To make matters worse, when their arch-nemesis Dick Byrne performed his own song shows the Fathers 2 fingers launching into a marvelous rendition of We Are The World with a support choir, showboating keyboardist, and skyrocketing chorus.
Did Ted and Dougal win A Song For Ireland? Watch the episode and find out. And enjoy a lovely cup of tea with this cup while you do. What would you say to a cup?