Here's what the Pontiff has been missing since he gave up the googlebox in 1990

Pope Francis has said that he has not watched television since 1990 after making a promise to the Virgin Mary. In an interview with Argentine newspaper La Voz del Pueblo, the Pope said that he had decided that “[Television] was not for me”. This TV switch-off means the Pontiff has missed out on a golden age of television. Here are a few programmes he should catch up on, if he were ever to end this self-imposed ban on the box…

The Sopranos

Quite possibly the finest series of modern times. If Francis is able to stomach the copious amounts of violence, he’d find much to appreciate in this complex, morally serious mobster saga that addresses many of life’s big questions.

Father Ted

As I recently argued, although Father Ted still has its detractors, many Catholics have come to appreciate this Irish sitcom for all its glorious silliness. Pope Francis would find lots to laugh at, including Ted and Dougal’s Song for Europe, Mrs Doyle tea-talitarian regime and, possibly, the sight of Bishop Brennan getting booted up the backside (something the Pope admitted he once wanted to do to a corrupt official).

Modern Family

Perhaps on the face of it Modern Family might not be one for the Holy Father. But the hit US comedy comes with a recommendation from none other than Vatican Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who praised it for helping make the family “the subject of increasingly intense interest and discussion”.

World Cup

It’s surely a coincidence that the Pope decided to stop watching telly in 1990, the same year his home country Argentina lost in the World Cup final against West Germany. The football-mad Pontiff’s decision to stop watching TV meant than in 2014 he not only missed Argentina again finishing as World Cup runners-up (to Germany, of course), but also his favourite club team, San Lorenzo, winning the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League. He doesn’t use the internet, he also revealed in the interview, but a quick scour of YouTube would allow him to get up to speed with all the footy action he’s missed.

Strictly Come Dancing

The Pope has previously expressed his love of the tango and his 78th birthday was marked by thousands of tango dancers whirling away in St Peter’s Square, so he should have plenty of fun watching Strictly or its Italian version, Ballando con le Stelle.