Father Ted is one of TV’s greatest British sitcoms – up there with other giants of the genre such as Fawlty Towers, Gavin and Stacey and The Thick of It. It is plain loopy – daft, surreal, edgy in its debunking of the Church and blessed by four timeless characters.
From a distance of close to half a century, London is almost unrecognisable. Cortinas and Consuls squeal around a semi-derelict city, pockmarked by Second World War bomb sites. Houses and shops are dilapidated, a permanent pall of smoke hangs in the boozers; people look old, even those who aren’t. Everything is grey.
Everything except detective inspector Jack Regan’s iconic brown suit and green kipper tie. And he was always hungry for nicking villains: “We’re the Sweeney, son, and we haven’t had any dinner – you’ve kept us waiting.”
If you can judge a sitcom solely on the strength of its catchphrases, Only Fools and Horses is a gem. Three decades on from its heyday, Derek “Del Boy” Trotter’s sayings – “lovely jubbly”, “you plonker” and “cushty” – are part of our everyday language. We even remember his terrible Franglais – “mange tout, mange tout, as the French say” – by which Del meant “no problem”.