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Ballykissangel - Complete Series One

4.6 out of 5 stars 900 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jan 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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?

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

Special Features

  • All six episodes
  • "On the Ballykissangel Trail" - making of feature (60 mins.)
  • "Behind the Scenes" (20 mins)
  • "Summer Holiday in Avoca" tour of the town

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Taylor (VII), Mick Lally, Owen Teale, Kate McEnery, Colin Farrell
  • Directors: Paul Duane, Chris Clough, Simon Massey (II), Peter Lydon, Mike Cocker
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (900 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DZSYC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Ballykissangel - Complete Series One" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Another reviewer has compared BALLYKISSANGEL to NORTHERN EXPOSURE, and there's certainly some truth to that. An outsider arrives in a small town. He quickly finds himself squeezed by the pressure of the local financial overlord, the town conscience, a group of occasionally odd individuals, and his own feelings for an unattainable woman. And, just when the the transplanted hero gets REALLY interesting, the actor playing him decides to "pursue other interests", leaving the show's producers to scramble in another lead actor.
Only, unlike NORTHERN EXPOSURE, BallyK's inhabitants are a bit more realistic than Cicely's. You won't find radio announcers making catapult art, insane hypochondriacs badgering hermit chefs, or waitresses breaking into chronic song. Rather, BallyK is peopled by characters who present us with humor derived from their very ordinary humanity.
In truth, after the departure of Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwan, that humanity becomes a little too ordinary, and the show slips into a kind of soap opera normalcy. But for the two-year tenure of Tompkinson's Father Clifford and Kirwan's Assumpta Fitzgerald, BallyK is a fascinating place, where the storyline is fresh, and the characters genuinely evolve.
It's clear that the writers love their characters. They take great care to provide us with ones so involving, it is sometimes difficult to discern who the stars of the show actually are. Each main character has a well-defined relationship with all the rest.
At the end of the day, however, the show is most about two of them. The writers' greatest feat is the complete story arc of the Clifford-Fitzgerald relationship. It stands as one of the most complex liasons in the history of English-language television.
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Format: DVD
WARNING! If you have never seen an episode of "Ballykissangel" and are starting from the beginning like I did today, be aware that on the second disc there is a special feature that looks back on the making of the show. It includes several spoilers including what would have to be the biggest spoiler of them all. So if you want to get all the way through to Series Three and not have things ruined for you then skip the "On the Ballykissangel Trail" featurette so what happened to me does not happen to you.

"Ballykissangel" is about young Father Peter Clifford (Stephen Tompkinson) who has come from England to the Irish town of Ballykissangel (Baile Coisc Aingeal) to be the curate at the local parish. You would think that the problem is going to be that the young priest is English, but it turns out to be his way of thinking and not his country of origin that shakes things up in town:

Episode 1, "Trying to Connect You" (Written by Kieran Prendiville, First aired February 11, 1996) starts with an interesting race. Can the new priest get to town before whatever is in that giant crate marked "Fragile" that is rolling down the mountainside and into Ballykissangel? Father Peter gets a ride Assumpta Fitzgerald (Dervla Kirwan), who runs the local tavern and has no use for the church. Then there are Niamh Quigley (Tina Kellegher) and Ambrose Egan (Peter Hanly), who are supposed to be getting married. But she wants to make sure they are really compatible which means living and sleeping together and he does not want to commit a mortal. Meanwhile, Father MacAnally (Niall Toibin) is not happy to have a new curate who cannot drive and then there is what is in that box that Brian Quigley (Tony Doyle) has bought for the church.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
When I first saw this on video, I was astonished at the quality of the print. When I saw BALLYKISSANGEL on the BBC America channel, the prints had a certain foggy quality to it, as if one was looking through a slightly fogged up window. This was nonexistant on the video version. The video print was so clear and different that it looked like watching a theatrical film instead of a British TV show.
Being a big fan of the show, I generally wanted to get BALLYKISSANGEL when it was released on tape. It is a very entertaining show about the going-ons of a small Irish village. Although it may resemble a normal drama, don't let that fool you. It possesses an atmosphere of oddball humor. Despite the realistic trappings, anything unusual, from an automatic confessional to wooden sheep, may occur in this town. It's NORTHERN EXPOSURE in Ireland. Volume one features the pilot episode, introducing Father Peter Clifford (DROP THE DEAD DONKEYS' Stephen Tompkinson) as the arriving priest of the town's St. Joseph's parish. Along the way he meets the no-nonsense barkeeper Assumpta Fitzgerald (Devla Kirwin), the ambitious businessman Brian Quigley (Tony Doyle), his headstrong daughter Niamh (THE SNAPPER'S Tina Kellegher), and clumsy Gardi Ambrose Egan (BRAVEHEART'S Peter Hanly).
As an additional treat to BallyK fans, each video features a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the show.
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Format: VHS Tape
I stay up late to watch this on PBS. I care about the characters, I worry about what will happen to them, I'm way too sucked into this TV show. The story of an outsider (Fr. Clifford) a stranger in a strange land, struggling to do what's best, for his job, for his parishoners, and therefore for himself. With some very low-key but absolutely hysterical moments. You have to pay attention, but it's well worth it. Cross Northern Exposure with All Creatures Great and Small and you've got it.
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