Father, Dear Father

Thursday, September 20 2012
Father, Dear Father

He’s one of the most enduring comedy creations of the past few decades, consistently topping polls on TV from both comics, critics and, crucially, audiences too. His catchphrases – or at least one single word, “feck”, have crossed over into the popular lexicon. Each year, the complete adventures of this character and his colleagues sell 40,000 units on DVD. And now he’s returning to his natural home, Channel 4, or rather its 4DVD arm.

That character is Father Ted, the hapless priest trapped on a remote island, peopled by all manner of eccentrics, with the witless (Father Dougal) and the feckless (Father Jack), feck being the operative word here.

And on October 15, 4DVD will be bringing those complete adventures out in newly repackaged form, along with newly-created additional features, after the rights returned to the commercial arm of the commercial arm of the broadcaster who first aired his adventures.

So why has Ted had such a long-lasting appeal? The kind that saw it voted as Channel 4’s best comedy show ever?

“There was nothing like Father Ted before,” says 4DVD’s Claire Boask, ”and there hasn’t been anything like it since. It’s a timeless classic, any series that is so well written would have this kind of long-lasting appeal. This fact is demonstrated by it winning Channel 4’s greatest comedy show.

With the 40,000 units selling each there, it’s totted up a lot of lifetime sales, but with that kind of PR and its ever-growing reputation, there are still sales to be had, says Bosak. “There are still viewers discovering the show and many fans who may not have the complete boxset or those real hardcore fans that have to own everything to do with the series.”

With all rights for the the series now under its watchful eye, 4DVD can further ensure that the series is not available in its entirety on its free TV video on demand service, 4OD, which should further help keep demand high.

The October 15 bow is given further vibrancy by the fact that 4DVD has commissioned new extras and a new sleeve. As the company’s Claire Bosak explains: “We have recorded brand new commentaries with Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, so now all episodes include a commentary with the creators.

“We are also including the Channel 4 documentary Small, Far Away – The World of Father Ted which features the creators on a road trip across Ireland taking them back to some of the filming locations from the series. This was filmed for the 15th anniversary of the series’ launch. The packaging is being designed by renowned illustrator Tony Millionaire whose unique style fits perfectly with the feel of the series, the release will include exclusive artcards of further Father Ted drawings by Tony, making the release a perfect collector’s piece.

As for the marketing for the release, Bosak concludes: “We will be working with retailers in Ireland to push this release as we are expecting a large percentage of sales to come from the region and we will have gift guide placements come December.”

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