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Life is a challenge for any priest in a small mountain town, and Father Peter Clifford has just arrived from London with high expectations and not even a drivers license to help him navigate the rocky road to salvation in Ballykissangel. His arrival is as much of a shock to Peter as it is to the local residents who are forced to come to terms with his youthful energy and down-to-earth style. Beautiful barkeep Assumpta Fitzgerald owns a car, but loathes organized religion, and she lets him know it as they drive up the mountain to give the last rites to a dying parishioner. And he clashes repeatedly with powerful landowner Brian Quigley, one of the church's biggest donors. There are prejudices to overcomeand questions to be answered. Like why exactly did Peter leave London in the first place?
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When Father Peter Clifford (Peter Tompkinson) comes from Manchester to the small Irish village of Ballykissangel, he knows he will be facing some opposition. After all, what is an English priest doing in Ireland, of all places? He soon finds out that the town of Ballykissangel poses many more challenges than just accepting the unfamiliar priest. The delightfully mischievous cast of characters include Brian Quigley, the local businessman and entrepreneur; Donal and Liam, his faithful sidekicks; Siobhan, the frequently prescient veterinarian; and the tough owner of Fitzgerald's Bar, Assumpta. As the characters become more familiar throughout the series, their tribulations and triumphs are all the more realistic. The intricate characterizations, beautiful scenery, and delightfully dry humor ensure that fans of the English series All Creatures Great and Small will also enjoy Ballykissangel, and savor its distinctly Irish twist.
In the first episode, "Trying to Connect You," before Father Clifford has a chance to arrive in the town of Ballykissangel, the bus he is riding is almost smashed to bits by a huge wooden box. He soon finds out that this box contains a welcome gift from Brian Quigley, Ballykissangel's occasionally misguided preeminent businessman. The second episode, "The Things We Do for Love," finds a blast from Father Clifford's past arriving in town. Quigley's daughter, Niamh, is set to wed Ambrose, the earnest village guard, in "Live in My Heart and Pay No Rent." "Fallen Angel" finds a pirate radio station, Angel FM, and its DJ broadcasting hip tunes, wisecracks, and local gossip in an atrocious American accent over the town. When the DJ reveals that it's Father Clifford's birthday, Assumpta thinks up a gift that will surely get things rolling. "The Power and the Glory" is a bit tense for many of the characters. Quigley decides to run in the local election against the aspiring crematorium-builder, Sean Dooley, but an old flame of Assumpta's--a journalist--starts digging around and causing all sorts of trouble. In the sixth and last episode of the season, "Missing You Already," Father Clifford finds out he is about to be sent back to England. Meanwhile, Assumpta is busy coping with the impending competition of Quigley's Bar and Grill, which is moving in for the local festival and possibly longer. And finally, the happy couple of Niamh and Ambrose are getting married. This could be the end for the English priest in the small Irish town. --Amanda Powter
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