Subverting the Sitcom from Within: Form, Ideology and Father Ted

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter looks at the highly popular Channel 4 sitcom, Father Ted (1995-8), dealing with three Catholic priests and their housekeeper living on a fictitious island somewhere off the west coast of Ireland. It examines the circumstances of the programme’s making, its links to both ‘classic’ sitcoms (such as Steptoe and Son) and to ‘alternative’ comedy (such as The Young Ones) and the reasons for its subsequent emergence as a ‘cult’ comedy. It also considers the critical reactions that the series generated in both Britain and Ireland before exploring the programme’s ambivalent relationship to Irish stereotypes. In doing so, the article indicates how the series both draws upon and subverts the formal conventions traditionally associated with the sitcom and the ideologically-laden imagery historically associated with the Irish.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish TV Comedies
Subtitle of host publicationCultural Concepts, Contexts and Controversies
EditorsJurgen Kamm, Birgit Neumann
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-55295-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-55294-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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