a short site about The Divine Comedy

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Father Ted

Father Ted

  • Video formats
    • Series 1 VHS (UK/Ireland): Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 2 VHS (UK/Ireland): Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 3 VHS (UK/Ireland): Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 1 VHS (USA): Letterbox: NTSC
    • Series 2 VHS (USA): Letterbox: NTSC
    • Series 3 VHS (USA): Letterbox: NTSC
    • Series 1 DVD (UK/Ireland) (2001): 5 014138 068622 – Region 2 ; Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 2 Part 1 DVD (UK/Ireland) (2001): 5 014138 068721 – Region 2 ; Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 2 part 2 DVD (UK/Ireland) (2002): 5 014138 069087 – Region 2 ; Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 3 DVD (UK/Ireland) (2002): 5 014138 068230 – Region 2 ; Letterbox: PAL
    • Series 1 DVD (USA): Region 1 ; Letterbox: NTSC
    • Series 2 2xDVD (USA) (05/03/2002): Region 1 ; Letterbox: NTSC
    • Series 3 DVD (USA): Region 1 ; Letterbox: NTSC
    • The Definive Collection 5xDVD (UK/Ireland) (29/10/2007): Letterbox: PAL
    • The Definive Collection 5xDVD (USA) (05/11/2009): Letterbox: PAL
    • The Complete Bexset 5xDVD (UK/Ireland) (12/11/2012): 68744 10442 9 1 (C4DVD10442) – Letterbox: PAL
Neil Hannon did most of the music for the three Father Ted series, written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews.

It was during a trip in Paris, Neil was contacted by Graham Linehan who was looking for someone to compose the music of his new sitcom. Actually, Graham has already asked a few other people (including Jarvis Cocker) who all turned down the offer [1], but Graham also showed a deep interested for Neil Hannon’s music and gave very good reviews of the albums in Select and Volume. Neil accepted the deal, and came up with a few ideas as he already started working on the album Casanova. One of them which was dropped was the original demo of ‘A Woman Of The World’; as the actual theme music that would become ‘Songs of Love’ was preferred by producer Geoffrey Perkins as it sounded more Irish and less ‘silly’ [3].
Neil Hannon recorded different arrangements of the theme music in a cheap studio (in order to save money for himself! [2]), and they feature various episodes of all the series. We haven’t listed all the theme music versions here (there’re about 25 variations including jingles, etc.), but the most notable versions are the extended version which closes the third series, and also a piano version featured in the first episode ‘Good Luck, Father Ted’.

For the second series, Neil was asked to write more specific songs. The most famous being in ‘A Song For Europe’, with ‘My Lovely Horse’ or ‘The Miracle is Mine’. Weirder, are two Kraftwerk inspired tunes which the I.T. Crowd’s music would remind us of.
Then, in the Christmas special episode, and the third series, new jingles were recorded. More pompous, they were probably done with the help of Joby Talbot.

Finally, in 2010 a documentary, ‘Small and For Away – The World Of Father Ted’ was produced. It features some of the theme music as well as complete version of a few songs. But also more recent music with some Divine Comedy or Duckworth Lewis Method instrumental songs, or new tunes which we don’t know if they were originally recorded for the series or were just part of Neil’s personal demo archives.

It has been rumoured that Neil’d done eventually a cameo appearance, in particular in scenes where the actor could not really be identified. But that’s actually not true at all. Neil stated that he never appeared on his own on the series, there’s just his name which is enumerated along with Keith Cullen and Ken Sweeney (of Brian) on the Christmas Special, to remind us that the authors were true Setanta Records’ fans.

The releases

The nineties saw many releases on VHS in the UK and in the US. They could be partial or complete series on one or many cassettes. The complete series were released on box sets entitled ‘Old Testament’, ‘New Testament’ and ‘Final Testament’.

In 2001-2002, the series was re-issued for the first time on DVD.
In the UK 4 DVD were issued:
  • The first series
  • The second series, part 1 + the Christmas special
  • The second series, part 2
  • The third series.
And a DVD with only the Christmas special was released.
The 3 DVD were also available within a complete collection box set.

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The UK DVD releases

Meanwhile, in the US, only 3 DVD were released, on for each series. A box set entitled ‘The Holy Trilogy’ was also released.

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The US DVD releases

Then, in 2007 the series were repackaged in the UK with a new box set entitled ‘The Definitive Collection’ with a new artwork.
Later in 2009, the US releases were also repackaged, but with a similar artwork than the previous US releases.

New UK box set
New US box set


And last but not least, in 2012 a new package was released again in UK entitled ‘The Complete Box Set’, with a new artwork again, but in the same style as in the previous box set.
That box set features additional bonus to the 2007 one, with new commentaries (recorded 2012) and interview with Graham Linehan & Arthur Mathews, as well as the ‘Small and Far Away – The World Of Father Ted’ documentary.
Individual DVDs were also released in 2013.

[1] Miriam Meets, RTÉ Radio 1, 14/02/2010
[2] MCM interview, 2001
[3] Graham Linehan & Arthur Mathews interview, Father Ted boxset, 2012