Highlands & Islands

Series follows 'real-life Father Ted' on Barra

A factual series following the lives of three island priests has been dubbed the real-life Father Ted.

BBC Two's, An Island Parish, records new priest Father John Paul MacKinnon's arrival on the isle of Barra in the Western Isles.

It also documents the lives of Father Roddy MacAulay and 83-year-old Father Calum MacLellan.

Producer Nigel Farrell said he was aware people would compare the programme with the Channel 4 comedy.

He told the Daily Record he was worried about viewers comparing the three priests to the characters in Father Ted.

But he said Father John Paul was a fan of the comedy, which ended in 1998 following the death of its star Dermot Morgan.

Father Ted follows the fortunes of priests Jack Hackett, Ted Crilly and the younger Dougal McGuire on the fictional Craggy Island.

Image caption The main cast of the comedy series Father Ted

In An Island Parish, viewers will see Father John Paul get to grips with his new role on the Hebrides.

During the series, he says: "It is a great island parish.

"On a day like today, you realise how lucky you are to be given this opportunity. It's beautiful."

Father Roddy, who is responsible for the parish croft, is also featured in the documentary joking with Father John Paul about beating a local parishioner in the hen section of an agricultural show.

The new arrival is also told by Fathers Roddy and Calum of the time a car went over an embankment at the Catholic church on Barra with a priest inside it.

The programme will also examine the future of the fishing industry and use of Gaelic on the Western Isles.

An Island Parish starts on Friday from 1930 GMT on BBC Two.

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