My Lovely Horse

My Lovely Horse

My Lovely Horse is a song featured in the hit comedy series Father Ted. It was written by Graham Linehan, Arthur Mathews and Neil Hannon (of The Divine Comedy), and appeared in the episode "A Song for Europe", in which Ted (Dermot Morgan) and Dougal (Ardal O'Hanlon) sing it for Ireland at "A Song For Ireland" (which is shown every year), a contest to determine who will represent Ireland at the "Eurosong" Contest. There, they were given "0 Points" by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Norway.

According to the DVD commentary, the video is based on "That's What Friends Are For" by The Swarbriggs, a genuine Irish Eurovision competitor in 1975.

The song was released on CD as a B-side to The Divine Comedy's single "Gin Soaked Boy". The track lasts 1:23.


The in-show history of the song is that Ted and Dougal secretly plagiarised the melody from the B-side of a record by Nin Huegen and the Huegenotes (the band who came fifth in "A Song for Norway" in 1976). As everyone who was in any way involved with the original song had perished in a plane crash, Ted decided he could get away with simply using the rather catchy tune with his new lyrics entitled My Lovely Horse. Ted and Dougal had previously only accompanied these lyrics with an out of tune guitar and an old Bontempi organ. The note only changes once, with that being at the very end of the song, which sees a pause to change the fingering position on the fret board, with Ted saying "Hang on, I can get this!".

After making it through to the final stages of "A Song for Ireland", Ted hears the original tune being used as elevator music. Realising that the tune is in fact more widely known than they thought, Ted and Dougal have no option but to resort to "Plan B", namely playing the song in its original format, which, in addition to its poor musical quality, lasts for less than a minute, far shorter than the usual length of a Eurovision entry. This leaves them humiliated, but doesn't stop them winning, because the producers have rigged the contest. They have done this to ensure that Ireland will lose the next Eurosong, as Ireland had won the Contest for the last 5 years in a row and it was costing them too much to stage each year, perhaps commenting on the fact that Ireland won the actual Eurovision Song Contest 3 consecutive times. Ted and Dougal end up getting no points in the Contest.


The episode A Song For Europe is often regarded as one of the most popular episodes, appearing on the Best Of video. One of the most distinguishable moments in the episode is the famous "My Lovely Horse" music video. This is shown as part of a vivid dream that Dougal and Ted have in anticipation of their act.

The video features obscure references to characteristic Eurovision sequences, such as footage of Ted and Dougal playing table tennis and playing with an inflatable ball in a swimming pool. They also wear glittery blue suits, the same as The Swarbriggs wore. The song includes lines that refer to less considered aspects of horse ownership such as "I want to shower you with sugar lumps ... and bring you to the horse dentist".

The climax of the clip features the sudden appearance of the horse's head to the cacophanous wail of a saxophone, surrounded by a typically 1970s-disco-style burst of multi-coloured light. Dougal and Ted wake up in horror simultaneously, with Ted panting "We have to lose that sax solo!"

The outdoor sequences were shot in the grounds of the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland. In the background the cascade waterfall in Ennistymon can clearly be seen.

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