Ballykissangel (TV Series 1996–2001) Poster

(1996–2001)

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Pleasing Irish series
Steffen_John15 November 2001
One of my favourite series. Ballykissangel is an example of how Ireland can produce quality family drama with wonderful characters and good writing against a picturesque backdrop of the Irish countryside.

Filmed at Avoca in Ireland it follows the characters in the fictional town of Ballykissangel, mainly the Catholic priest Father Peter Clifford. Hidden underneath the weekly episodes was the quietly growing attraction of Father Peter and Assumpta Fitzgerald (pub owner of Fitzgeralds)

The series had a slightly quirky edge to it and its humour helped make the series such a ratings winner. The show went for 6 seasons but the best episodes were the first 3 seasons. After the end of the first 3 the two main characters left and the the creator and writer, Kieran Prendiville, also handed over the reins to other writers. The show was never the same and lost some of its humour. Then Peter Hanley (Ambrose) left the show. Later on the series suffered more blows with actors, Birdy Sweeny (Eamonn) and Tony Doyle (Brian Quigley), dying in real life.

With falling ratings Season 6 saw Ballykissangel given some new life with the arrival of a more charismatic priest, Father Vincent Sheahan (played by Australian Robert Taylor) and the return of the original writer Kieran Prendiville. Despite Season 6 being more enjoyable, and showing more promise, it was decided to end the show after 58 episodes.

Personally I think it could have continued as long as Kieran Prendiville held its reins but it was not to be.

Ballykissangel will go down in television history as an example of how good an Irish production can be, which, at its best, was extremely likeable.
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It could happen next door
CorineJC31 May 1999
For some time now, I am following the TV-series "Ballykissangel". Why? Simply because it´s one of the few TV-series which is worth being watched: no unnecessary violence, no stupid, easy-to-see-through jokes, and a good storyline, combined with a set of good actors. I call this a real top british TV-product, and it´s a shame that the Dutch TV stations don´t show it on prime time! Ballykissangel is all about the life and complications of the people of a small irish village, where there has been assigned a new young catholic priest, which happens to be british. The main characters are the english priest, father Clifford, and the owner of a local pub, Assumpta, who gets sick from everything connected to the church. The fundamental differences of character of these two (Assumpta is verbally aggressive, sarcastic and sometimes even vicious, whereas Clifford is friendly, sweet, helpful, and unbelievably naive sometimes) result in a mutual love/hate relationship and neither of them knows what to do with it. Most episodes can be watched separately, however watching most of them gives you the best clue as to the development of the relationship of the main characters, or should I say, the non-development. However, it is very easy to identify yourself with one or more of the main characters. This, combined with the misunderstandings and tricks in every episode, makes it a joy to watch this series, time after time.
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5/10
Ballykissangel took easy way out
stevens-melody4 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The first 3 seasons were very exciting. The storyline between the priest and the publican (Assumpta)was dangerous, edgy and romantic. Then the writers took the easy way out by killing off Assumpta. Then they did it again when they killed off the husband (Ambrose)of the woman (Niamh) who fell in love with someone else!

I was shocked at the first death. Although it was a cowardly way to settle the story line, it did work, although it could have been so much better had they explored the ramifications of a priest falling in love. But then they did it again with the next troubled romance.

Other serious flaw:People disappeared without comment: Eamon, Padraig, Danny, Emma, Orla. They just disappeared.

The series never recovered from the killing off of Assumpta and Father Peter's exit.

I wonder how much the story being in Ireland and funded with Irish government $$ (very Catholic) limited the writers.

Ballykissangel reminds me of Hamish MacBeth, which actually was much more fun and even though that also had some deaths, did not use them to artificially stop exploring interesting story lines.
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9/10
A Memorable and Enjoyable Television Series
hjmsia4919 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Bally K is the kind of quality television series I never tire of watching. The acting by an ensemble cast is first rate as is the script. I thought it gave foreigners an interesting picture of life in an Irish town. I thought the series lagged a bit after the initial two characters (Father Clifford and Asumpta) left but still had enough to continue interest. I noticed a strange commonality between almost all the main characters. Did anybody else note what all these pivotal characters had in common: Asumpta the local bar owner, Brendan the local teacher, Siobhan the local vet, Dr. Ryan, local yokels Liam and Donal, entrepreneur Quigley, storekeeper Kathleen, Garage owner Padraig and his successor in the later series, father O'Comnnell's sister Orla, Eamon and his elderly replacement and stable owner Avril? Not one of them was married? Rather unusual for a "typical" Irish town. Finally, one can wonder why Ireland, a country that sends priests all over the world, has to import them from England and Australia? I do recommend the series as an example of quality television, all too rare on local schedules.
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Lovely but only with Peter and Assumpta!
Manicheus27 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I really liked the original run. It was very fresh and innocent in a sense. It brought the vogue of Irish small-town comedy to the mainstream feature films(like "Waking Ned Devine"). The success of TV comedy overwhelmingly depends on the cast chemistry: in"BallyK" the chem was just perfect, so I wouldn't miss a new episode! The vagaries of the "illicit" liaison between the utterly charming Father Peter Clifford and the frisky innkeeper Assumpta Fitzgerald were a wonderful love interest motif, around which various (mis)adventures of the Ballkissangelians evolved. Alas, WARNINGPLOT GIVEN AWAY: Assumpta tragically dies; Father Cliffored defrocks and leaves BallyK ---with a new priest, it is different series, without much charisma left.
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10/10
character driven
pensman10 November 2010
This is a great series. As you watch you get pulled into the lives of the various characters living in a small village. While there is a tendency to romanticize the rural life in many films (and in part here), there is a greater depth than the average show. There is much humor in this series and also much heat break. As much as the viewer yearns for things to go right in the characters lives, things tend to go wrong and the characters must deal with personal loss, death, divorce, and financial ruin. For a show billed as a comedy, it is more drama with an overlay of humor. I am being somewhat vague in this review because this is a series to be dipped into for episodes that are uplifting and heart warming but ultimately overshadowed by reality. If you watch it once you will find find that after the passage of a few years you are longing to revisit Ballykissangel and share in the lives of what almost become real people.
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10/10
A Gem!
Blkynboy30 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Very-well crafted and acted series. Totally absorbing story-lines and characters.

Truly enjoyable,entertaining and original! An Irish soap opera on a grand scale.

Nothing detracts from this production. The scenery and locales are great. Excellent casting, direction and acting.

The series starts off with a humorous scene and has very deep character development. The trials and tribulations of the village residents is totally entertaining on all levels.

Total entertainment.

Post-script- I just saw the show where Assumpta accidentally dies. It looks like Dather Clifford is leaving the Priesthood. I don't know if the series can survive without these 2 leading characters. They really made the show and were supported by a strong cast. Alas!
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10/10
I can't wait for the next episode to arrive from Netflix today
katie-3516 July 2008
In 1998, I toured Ireland with a group of Aussies. We stopped in Avoca only because Ballykissangel was filmed there. All the Aussies were excited to see the church, the store, and Fitzgerald's just as seen on their BBC back home. I remembered the cute name for the town (Ballykissangel) when I joined Netflix. The characters are so well developed. No U.S. TV series is ever this good. Only when PBS shows a series of BBC programs is there any quality, and this has never been shown where I have been. The quirky people of BallyK just keep on coming. Some better than others, but each disc always leaves me wanting more. This show could have continued longer that six seasons with Kieran Prendiville back in the helm, but alas, it didn't. I will be sorry when I watch the last disc. Should it ever appear on PBS, I will become an avid watcher again. It is worth seeing again and looking forward to each episode. Ballykissangel wins my highest praise as quality storytelling.
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I love this show!!
Steph-8317 August 1999
This is one of the best shows that I watch. It is part of my Thursday night line up. My mother loves it too. We watch it regularly. It has all the makings of a soap opera but a much better story line!! You could actually believe that it is something that would happen to anyone. If you haven't seen it before, watch it!!
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9/10
One of the Best TV shows of all time!
glong1311 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This show is (or was) fantastic!! Definitely worth purchasing. The first 3 series are the best. With the departure of the 2 leads (and the series writer)in the final episode of series 3, the show loses some of it's chemistry. Also, the way that series 3 ended left me unsatisfied. Intellectually, it was excellent work, but the heart wasn't satisfied.

The rest of the run(series 4&5) was good and really worth watching but didn't have as much of the spirit established in the first 3. It's a testament to the ability of the remaining original actors that the show continued. Then, in series 5, the original writer/creator returns and just as he starts to get it all working again, the show is canceled!

I really feel that this is one TV show that can and should be brought back! It was amazing acting, writing,and scenery.A few of the original actors have,sadly,died and some of the the characters were killed off, but the meat of the show is still there. From the research I've tried to do, it seems a fairly accurate portrayal of rural Ireland as well.
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9/10
Just plain enjoyable day to day life with a twist of humor
spamobile4 October 2013
It is not for everybody most likely but as you can see at my rating it is for me. I never saw this originally when it came out but a re-run about 6 years or so ago. I really enjoyed the simple humor, the simple drama, the stories as a whole, the characters. It's nearly real life with a bit of a twist at times but you could imagine is to actually have taken place. It never left my mind so this year I bought the DVD's to watch it all again and, so far, not disappointing, it has not lost it's charm. You like action, hero's, spectacular drama, belly aching laughter, this is not for you. You like good humor that puts a smile on your face, a nice story line, things that could be happening next door (if you would live there), this is for you.
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A great program! It's absolutely smashing!
Nocturne-325 June 1999
If you've ever the chance to watch this program, do give it a chance. It's brilliant and even though some characters have left it is still just as great! The new characters are very exciting and as always it is very well written. I answer to those who watch on PBS in the states, I've heard they are starting to play new episodes now.
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9/10
One of my all-time favourites.
jhsteel13 March 2009
Now being re-run on ITV3, I am really enjoying BallyK all over again. For me, the acting of the whole ensemble cast is wonderful and particularly Stephen Tompkinson as Father Peter Clifford. His relationship with Assumpta is fascinating, even when I know what happened, because it shows them actually relating to each other as people and not in the roles that they play in the village. Peter goes beyond the traditional remit of the priest, while executing it faithfully, and his kindness and good judgement are an inspiration to all. He is an example of a really good man, although he has his own inner conflicts which are played convincingly. Most of all, I feel that all the characters in BallyK are friends who I want to visit - I feel as if I know them. It also hasn't dated too much and I think new viewers would enjoy it as much as those of us who remember it warmly from the first time around.
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2/10
Maybe this is a SPOILER, I dunno.
TanteWaileka28 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I started watching this show on youtube and at first I liked it, then it turned into something akin to 'hollywood anti-God series'. I cannot believe that the character, Father Peter, would leave the priesthood just like that for a piece of a$$; on the other hand, the actor who played Peter WAS living with the actress who played assumpta so maybe they broke up. It's a shame, really, that they took the opportunity to have a Roman Catholic Priest give up his Belief so easily. Sure I know it happens, but I also know that I was BFF with a Jesuit Priest for 35 years and although I thought he was very sexy (he still is) I NEVER once thought about boffing him or dinking with his belief in Christ. I am NOT a RC, but a born-again Christian. I tell you this, a man who has given himself to the Lord to the point where he becomes a Priest, is not going to give it up for tail (that IS what we are talking about here). We who love Jesus are not easily pulled away from Him. Too bad so many of the TV show / movie makers are so anti God. It's quite a shame.
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10/10
Firt 3 seasons the best of BBC TV
lilawisotzki13 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I discovered Ballykissangel earlier this year (2014) and I now watch an episode or 2 every night. I bought DVD's of the first 3 seasons. I find the people of BallyK to be wonderful, funny, down to earth and most of them very likable- even Quigley and on rare occasions Father Mac. I find that I laugh and cry and have my heart strings pulled very tightly when I see the way Father Clifford looks at Asumpta. I have started on season 4 but it has not drawn me in the way the first 3 seasons did. When some of the major characters left the show I too "left it" and just continue to review the episodes from the first 3 season. I love Father Clifford and the feisty Asumpta. And as a non-Catholic (I'm Protestant) I really appreciate the way Father Clifford is portrayed as a thinking modern priest. However some of the pomp and beauty makes me want to become a Catholic. And the Irish countryside is just captivating. I am recommending Ballykissangel to all my friends and MAY lend them my DVD's.
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7/10
Pleasant surprise
ctomvelu128 July 2013
I was never much of a U.K. TV series fan, until I stumbled across this show and "Doc Martin." These two shows now have me hooked. "Bally" reminds me of gentle Irish comedy movies like "Waking Ned Devine." And the nice thing, with "Bally" I have six years worth of episodes to watch. In my home state, Connecticut, we have a huge Irish American population and Connecticut Public Television airs "Bally" episodes at least once a week, which is how I became acquainted with the show. I have since watched a couple of episodes on youtube. I can't get enough of it! You can have "Dontown Abbey." Me, I'll stick with "Bally." I also watch occasional episodes of the various police dramas like "Inspector Morse" and "DCI Banks." But without guns and gun play, they tend t be very dull.
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8/10
A ton of fun!
cheepnispc5 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
My folks got me hooked on BKA, and I just finished watching the last of the series.

The first three seasons are nothing but light, rollicking fun. The most improbable things happen in this quaint Irish town, starting with the welcoming comment from the town atheist to the new parish priest, "Just what we need, another English priest (in Ireland)." The characters are well developed, and you just want to sneak into the bar with them, and get to know them better.

Going towards the end of season 4, and the beginning of season 5, the series gets VERY dark, though, and I really didn't enjoy watching. Why did I stick with it? I guess, in hopes that it would turn around. The last season was better, but as the majority of the cast had turned over, it really didn't feel like the same series as much as the same set.

Bottom line - the first three seasons were the best, but it's not a complete waste of time to watch the last three, either.
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8/10
Addictive comfort entertainment
acutler13 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Great series, certainly for the first three seasons. After that, it loses its way somewhat.

People debate, defend or prevaricate as to whether Father Clifford and Assumpta should have consummated their relationship, but it wouldn't be true to the heart of the series if they did. It is the very point that Peter cannot turn against his beliefs thus providing the seeds for his downfall: a downfall which would have happened in some way regardless of the fate of Assumpta. This is why I think I find the first three seasons so eminently re-watchable - it displays a human struggling for an unattainable ideal - ultimately failing - but the struggle was noble and inspiring. It isn't the failure that is important - it is the struggle - we all struggle.
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Best series on PBS since Upstairs, Downstairs
rock-2629 March 1999
The best series on PBS since Upstairs, Downstairs. Enjoyable storylines and delightful characters. Ireland never looked better. Will we ever see the episodes after Father Clifford left BallyK.
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Series ruined
snolan-5269316 January 2018
The first three seasons were great but then season four went from s great British series to a femanazi, feminist packed female focused soap opera with assinine writing and inane story lines. Shut it off. Had enough of the nasty female characters acting like raving bitches.
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1/10
GOD awful beyond belief- Committed the biggest SIN there is for a comedy- NOT funny at ALL!
domain-513 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*************SPOILERS EVERYWHERE*************

Hello!

This horrific garbage ticked me off in a way that no show has for a long, long time.

First off, this has got to be some of the worst series writing I have ever seen. I will critique the first episode.

Over and over, the writers put in scenes obviously intended to be funny, that fall flat on their faces, without even a chuckle.

Technically, I suppose, this was supposed to be a dramedy (IE, both a drama and a comedy), but there were numerous scenes that obviously were INTENDED, unsuccessfully, to be comedic.

A giant box falls off a truck, tumbling down a mountain, narrowly missing a bus carrying the new priest into town. This was OBVIOUSLY intended to be funny, but fell completely flat.

Ridiculous confessional being installed, with comfy chairs, "Occupied" lights, and a fax (would've been something that you might have seen in "Last of the Summer Wine"), that was continually played, UNSUCCESSFULLY, for laughs. Not a laugh, not a chuckle.

Not only were the writers utterly and completely incompetent at writing comedy scenes, the terrible actors were also completely incompetent at DELIVERING comedic lines. Again, not one laugh, not one chuckle.

The new priest was obviously meant to be the "hero" against the supposedly old and stodgy and hypocritical in the village, but, again, the writers were utterly incompetent, and had NO idea what they were doing.

The rich man funding the ridiculous confessional, became the new priest's arch enemy for virtually NO reason at all. The new priest's superior, Father MacAnally (I'm NOT joking, this is what the writers called him!) tells him outright that the rich man is a friend of the church, and to treat him well.

Well, Mr. new priest, there all of one day, not only IGNORES his superior's (presumably having lived there decades, with intimate knowledge of the area and situations) advice, but then declares the rich guy as priestly enemy #1, for NO real reason. (Yes, supposedly the ridiculous confessional would imply sins of pride and vanity, but, so WHAT? Presumably in this guy's congregation, there would be people committing a variety of sins as large, or larger. WHY did he single out the rich guy???)

And perhaps Mr. rich guy has previously contributed to the poor, or done other charitable acts? How would Mr. new priest, there all of one day, even KNOW this?

On the other hand, the unbelievably arrogant new priest committed MAJOR sins, all over the place, FAR in excess of anything that rich guy appeared to have done.

Examples: 1. Intentionally doesn't tell rich guy that the newly delivered confessional fell down the mountain, a fact hidden by the delivery people, who would have been liable. (By the way, HOW did it fall hundreds of feet down the mountain, WITHOUT an apparent scratch on it??? Even GLASS inside it, was shown to be intact! MORE bad writing.)

2. Intentionally and publicly, during the middle of a service, humiliates the rich man, not once, but TWICE. (Also, the writers don't seem to understand how electricity works. Priest has rich guy unplug the confessional, moments later, the fax kicks on, so rich guy can be humiliated publicly again. HUH??? With NO electricity???)

3. Tells police man to "shack up" (way rich man phrased it) with rich man's daughter; that it's OK as long as they don't have sex. MORE bad writing. Even if this is technically OK , it is stupid, ignorant, and naive beyond belief for a priest to say this! BAD writing!

4. FORGES A LETTER, using a faxed invoice intended for the rich guy (WHO sends invoices by fax???), to intentionally fake that the rich guy was trying to bill the church, for his "gift" of the confessional, instead of it being a real gift. NOT ONLY is this a TERRIBLE thing for a priest to do, it is probably criminal, as well! MORE horrible writing!

And YET, this new priest is supposed to be a paragon of virtue, against this "evil" of the rich guy, and Father MacAnally.

MORE bad writing: new priest and rich guy are trapped in confessional when electric doors jam. (AGAIN, obviously meant to be funny. Not one laugh, not one chuckle.) Solution? Pull the confessional through the roof, with THEM STILL IN IT, by a crane. A real laugh, right? NOT! Ummm, haven't the writers of this heard of a crowbar, or a saw, to open the jammed doors??? PLUS, I have NEVER seen an electric door that you couldn't open by hand, say, if the electricity or something else failed.

MORE bad writing: the confessional is WAY too large to go into any building, through any normal door. By luck, for some stupid reason I don't remember, there was a large, convenient hole in the roof, where they lowered it in by crane. (Must make this confessional a real big seller!) The BAD writers obviously did this, for the "funny" (NOT!), scene later where they are lifted out by crane, still in the confessional.

UNBELIEVABLE!!!

GARAGE, TRIPE, REFUSE, DRIVEL!

AVOID at ALL costs!

Karl

*************SPOILERS EVERYWHERE*************
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10/10
Summary
aliciacurrie4914 May 2009
I would like to thank God (and Kieran Prendiville) for Father Vincent played by the Aussie actor (Rob Taylor) - he should call himself 'Rob' or 'Robbie' as there was another famous actor called Robert Taylor. How do we never get Priests like him !! His smile is just absolutely 'Captivating'. The programme is just Grand !!! The acting is superb, as is the scenery. I visited Ireland six times in a row and to me this portrayal is very accurate. I would be interested in Rob's views of playing the role of a Priest compared to his previous parts where he would have no bother at all attracting the ladies - unlike in this role where it is 'Taboo' (or is it ?) There is no info online whether Rob is married or not ... please advise.
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