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<p>Ballykissangel: Complete Series 4 (DVD)</p>
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The events of season 3 left the BBC series Ballykissangel without its leading characters--pub owner Assumpta Fitzgerald (Dervla Kirwan) and Father Peter Clifford (Stephen Tompkinson)--and most interesting relationship conflict. Happily, the fourth season finds the drama-comedy successfully retooling itself with an influx of new cast members (including Colin Farrell) and a shifting of emphasis away from Assumpta's pub (called Fitzgerald's), previously the center of action in the Irish village. Not that the tavern is going anywhere; Assumpta's good friend, Niamh (Tina Kellegher), takes over its management after her father, wheeler-dealer Brian Quigley (Tony Doyle), buys Fitzgerald's at auction. Niamh's increasingly estranged husband, town cop Ambrose (Peter Hanly), isn't happy with the arrangement, and he worries that his superiors will object to his family moving into Assumpta's old living quarters above the pub. For Brian, however, Fitzgerald's is the smaller of two major acquisitions he makes in season 4; the other is a golf course to which he is led, literally, in a dream.
Meanwhile, returning characters Brendan (Gary Whelan), a teacher, and Siobhan (Deirdre Donnelly), the veterinarian, give birth to a daughter and struggle to come to terms with their unmarried relationship. Shop owner Kathleen (Aine Ni Mhuiri) has an unexpected encounter with an interrupted romance from her past, Brian's stooges Donal (Frankie McCafferty) and Liam (Joe Savino) keep trying to play an angle that will finally work for them, and Father Mac (Niall Toibin) is no less exasperated with his new priest, Father Aidan O'Connell (Don Wycherley), than he was with Father Clifford. Father O'Connell, a former monk who, until recently, was cut off from the mainstream world for a decade, is a somewhat reserved fellow undergoing a kind of re-entry shock. Fortunately, he has his outgoing sister, Orla (Victoria Smurfit), around to help him, though Orla proves quite interesting in other respects, particularly her unusual (and strictly platonic) bond with Brian. Finally, there's the aforementioned Colin ("Col" in the show's credits) Farrell, who plays Danny, a young nephew of shepherd Eamonn (Birdy Sweeney) and something of a fugitive in possession of a horse called Razor. Farrell is very good in the role, a haunted boy-man whose historical ties to the region--and to a much-resented other arrival, Sean Dillon (Lorcan Cranitch) and the latter's daughter, Emma (Kate McEnery)--are much more complicated than he knows. --Tom Keogh
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