This film is part of Free

The Scandalous Parson

Author of Gulliver's Travels faces trial by television

Inside Film 1967 27 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


Quick of mind and provocative of opinion, Augustan satirist and cleric Jonathan Swift finds himself transported to a 20th century television studio. There he engages in a verbal battle of wits with UTV interviewer David Mahlowe. Questions of religion, identity and nationalism are to the fore in what is believed to be the earliest surviving Northern Irish television play.

This material is courtesy of the UTV archive. Considered by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is recognised for his characteristically deadpan and ironic brand of satire, not least in his notorious essay, A Modest Proposal (1729). The fictional Swift is here played by the celebrated charactor actor Neil McCarthy (1932-1985), whose film credits include memorable roles as a Welsh soldier in Zulu (1964), as Sergeant Jock McPherson in Where Eagles Dare (1968), as the villain Calibos in Clash of the Titans (1981) and as a robber in Time Bandits (1981).