Monday, 25 August 2008

Bless me, Father

1970s. Comedy. Roman Catholic parish life. Arthur Lowe. Nuns. Solid catholic teaching.

Put all these (slightly incongruous, perhaps) elements together and you find yourself with "Bless me, Father", a rather wonderful sitcom first shown in 1978. Arthur Lowe stars as Fr Duddleswell, the Roman catholic priest of St. Jude's, a parish in the London suburbs circa 1950. In episode 1, he encounters his new curate, the young (and I must ashamedly say rather dashing) Fr Neil Boyd, played by Daniel Abineri. Their comic exploits are observed/encouraged/endured by Mrs Pring, the housekeeper, Mother Stephen, rev. mother of the local convent, Billy Buzzle, the local book-keeper and others. (The Anglicans are very amusingly depicted, particularly the curate who comments to Fr Boyd, taking him for the new Methodist minister, that he thanks God daily for not making him a Catholic...).
As a sitcom this really is delightful. Yet the most wonderful, and remarkable, thing about this series is how teaching it is. The characters are often laughable, sometimes downright reprehensible, but the viewer is always given a clear and sincere dose of catholic instruction. (The friend who introduced it to me suggested that the writer had simply sat down with a copy of the catechism and constructed the script around it...). It is unashamedly straightforward about the blessings of Christian life.
I urge you to find a copy and watch it. It really is worth it.


  1. It's a book, or several, as well. My parents have one of them. I used to read it when too young to understand most of it, but, considering me now, perhaps the solid catholic teaching worked.

  2. "teaching" is it? I see it's catching!

  3. What's catching? I'm confused -what have I done wrong now?!

  4. It's not you, it's me, as they say. Our noble brother Gregory is referring to the use of the word 'teaching' in this context. And very good it is too...