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A Song for Europe (Father Ted)

"A Song for Europe" is the fifth episode of the second series of the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted and the 11th episode overall. It aired in April 1996 and has since been recognised as one of the most popular episodes of the show; the episode is based on Ireland's winning streak at the Eurovision Song Contest during the 1990s. The plot centres around Ted and Dougal trying to write a song for it in order to settle a rivalry with Dick Byrne; the pair unsuccessfully write their own tune, before deciding to steal a former entry they believe nobody remembers. This backfires and they have to play the original tuneless song, but controversially win the contest anyway; the music was composed by Neil Hannon and was performed by Hannon and Darren Allison from The Divine Comedy. The episode begins when Dougal has weeks ahead of the competition. After rejecting Dougal's suggestion that they write a song to represent Ireland in the competition on the grounds that they are not skilled in songwriting, Ted discovers his nemesis Dick Byrne does have plans to enter a song.

Ted decides. After working all night, they come up with "My Lovely Horse", a tuneless dirge with ridiculous lyrics lasting less than a minute. After trying the song out on Mrs Doyle and Father Jack, Jack is so infuriated he shoots Ted's guitar. Disillusioned, they are about to give up when Ted discovers the lyrics fit a tune by "Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes", an obscure B-side for an entry from the fifth-placed act in Norway's Eurosong preselection from 1976. Ted thinks that because the whole band died in a plane crash, including all the record company staff and everyone involved in the copyright, they will get away with stealing it. At the Dublin theatre where "A Song for Ireland" is being hosted, Ted has some trouble talking to the judge as he finds he is gay. Ted and Dougal listen to Dick Byrne's entry, "The Miracle Is Mine", it is impressive, with a full choir, huge band and a passionate performance from Byrne. Ted is worried and goes backstage for a smoke, where he hears the Norwegian tune first being whistled by a maintenance worker playing in a lift.

He is horrified, realising that the song is more well-known than he thought, he and Dougal are forced to adopt "Plan B": singing the dreadful original version. In the original version, Ted says near the end when changing chord for the only time during the song, "Hang on, I can do this bit", while Dougal uses what looks like an old Casio keyboard. However, despite their poor performance, against the obvious wishes of the audience, Irish Eurosong boss Charles Hedges selects "My Lovely Horse" as Ireland's entry, nervously laughing off Byrne's suggestion that he wants to guarantee Ireland lose the main competition, with it being too expensive to host the competition every year, Ireland having won the last five Eurosongs; the episode closes at the Eurosong contest, with Ted, Dougal and Mrs. Doyle listening to every country awarding them "nul points". Jack does not have a single line in this episode, though he does have a memorable moment when he reacts to the initial performance of "My Lovely Horse" by blasting Ted's guitar to pieces with a sawn-off shotgun.

Steve Coogan was intended to play compère Fred Rickwood, but couldn't make it, so Irish comic Jon Kenny stepped in. Kenny had appeared in Father Ted as Michael the cinema owner in "The Passion of St Tibulus"; the music in the episode is written and, in the case of "Nin Huguen and the Huguen Notes", performed by Neil Hannon who wrote and recorded the title music. The band name is a clumsy pun on "Huguenots". Declan Lowney, who directed most Father Ted episodes, was director of the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest; the actual name of the Eurovision Song Contest is not mentioned at any point in the episode. The reference is always to the "Eurosong Competition"; the scene in which Ted loses his temper at Dougal's failure to play the correct note is a reference to "The Troggs Tapes", a notorious out-take from a recording session by The Troggs. In the Father Ted script book, Graham Linehan notes that he wanted the scene to run longer, but that it was cut down to just long enough for people familiar with the out-take to get the reference.

Ted mentions Scoopy Scoopy Dog Dog meaning Ice-T and Snoop Doggy Dogg. The tragic story of Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes' deaths in a plane crash could be a reference to similar events with past musician artists such as the "Day the Music Died" and the loss of multiple members of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the 1977 Convair CV-240 crash. Ted mentions that there was a priest named Father Benny Cake who scored a Number 1 hit single in England – after changing his name so nobody would know he was a priest – with a song titled "Vienna"; this joke references Midge Ure of Ultravox, although in reality "Vienna" was famously kept off the British Number 1 spot by Joe Dolce's Shaddap You Face, Midge Ure has no connection to the priesthood. The song did reach No. 1 I Ireland. The entries for "Song for Ireland 1996" were: "The Miracle is Mine" by Fr. Dick Byrne and Fr. Cyril McDuff "My Lovely Horse" by Fr. Ted Crilly and Fr. Dougal McGuire "If I Could Wear My Hat Like My Heart" by The Grand Girls "You Dirty English Bastards" by The Hairy Bowsies "The Drums of Africa Are Calling Me Home" by Sean O'Brien "Sha la la la la la la la la la la la la" by Death PigsThe

1919 Pontefract by-election

The Pontefract by-election, 1919 was a parliamentary by-election held for the British House of Commons constituency of Pontefract in Yorkshire on 6 September 1919. The by-election was caused by the death on 30 July 1919 of the sitting Coalition Liberal Member of Parliament, Sir Joseph Compton-Rickett, he was 72 years old. He had been an MP in the area since 1906, he had been Lloyd George's Paymaster General since 1916. The Pontefract constituency had been Liberal since 1893 and Osgoldcross Liberal since 1885. At the General election in 1918, Compton-Rickett was re-elected with the support of the Coalition Government'coupon'; the by-election was a straight fight between Isaac Burns for the Labour Party, the nominee of the Yorkshire Miners' Association and 50-year-old Walter Forrest, a woollen manufacturer from Pudsey for the Coalition Government of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, although the Liberals had some trouble in finding a candidate at first. The local Conservatives endorsed the candidacy of their Coalition partners and the Independent Asquithian Liberals did not bring a forward a candidate.

The health of the coal mining industry was an issue which Isaac Burns sought to make his own against the background of a coal strike taking place in the area. He was hampered by the fact that although coal mining was a major industry in the area, the principal colliery towns had been attached to other constituencies in boundary changes and mining was not decisive as there were many other interests in the constituency. Agriculture dominated around Barkston Ash and there was shipping and coastal trades around Goole. Many in these industries were adversely affected by the coal strike and were unsympathetic to Burns and Labour as a result. Burns stated he was in favour of a number of Labour policies including equal adult franchise for both sexes, pensions for mothers and free secondary education for all, he was in favour of widespread nationalisation of industry and a programme of public works to keep down unemployment. He wanted Home Rule for Ireland and local government for India. Walter Forrest set out his position on a number of questions at his meetings of both the local Coalition Liberals and Unionist parties.

He was opposed to the nationalisation of the coal mines and conscription, in favour of some relaxation of the liquor laws for the benefit of working men and improved welfare for men disabled in the war. He strongly advocated economy and retrenchment but one of the Liberal MPs who visited the constituency to speak for him, Dr T J Macnamara the Secretary to the Admiralty, in a speech designed to protect the position of his Department and no doubt appeal to the patriotic feelings of working class and Unionist voters, was keen to point out that national security must take precedence over economy. Forrest retained the seat for the government but with a reduced majority. List of United Kingdom by-elections United Kingdom by-election records