The Vicar of Dibley is back – but is it the TV we need right now?
Name: The Vicar of Dibley.
Age: First aired in November 1994.
I remember. The much-loved, much-watched, multi award-winning sitcom, starring Dawn French as a vicar in rural Oxfordshire and created by Richard Curtis. And last aired in 1998, no? Well, apart from various Christmas and New Year specials in 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007...
It’s not coming back again is it? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no… YES! [Cue laughter]
That’s a line isn’t it? Who was it who used to say that? Trevor Peacock’s character, Jim Trott.
But it really is coming back? Fans were first alerted that something was afoot when French tweeted a giveaway closeup of herself in a dog collar and cross necklace. “Somethin interestin this way comes,” she teased, adding “Thurs @BBCOne 7-10pm #BigNightIn.”
Somethin? Interestin? Not a fan of the letter G, then? That’s just how they speak in the countryside. Well, the Reverend Geraldine Granger did anyway.
And #BigNightIn? This week’s three-hour Comic Relief and Children in Need telethon, featuring Zoe Ball, Davina McCall, Lenny Henry, Paddy McGuinness, Peter Kay and many more. It will raise money for and celebrate those going the extra mile to support their communities during the Covid-19 crisis.
Any clues as to what we might see from Geraldine? Viewers of The One Show were treated to a sneaky preview, in which the vicar was self-isolating in corona lockdown. “I had the first meeting of the Dibley parish council conducted by an app called Zoom,” she says. “It was the best parish council meeting I’ve ever had, largely because none of the other councillors know how to get on to Zoom.”
So up-to-the-minute in current affairs and tech, possibly less so when it comes to comedy trends. Hardly Fleabag, is it? Or The End of the F***ing World? Hey, don’t be like that. The Vicar of Dibley was not just incredibly popular, it shone a light on casual everyday sexism soon after the changes that permitted the ordination of women. And anyway, in these times, when it often literally feels like the end of the world, we seek solace in the past. Nostalgia is hot right now. Catherine Tate will also be bringing back schoolgirl Lauren for the night.
Am I bovvered? Do I look bovvered?
Do say: “You were expecting a bloke – beard, Bible, bad breath. And instead you got a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.”
Don’t say: “Why is this even a charity thing? Shouldn’t the state be looking after the most vulnerable? Is the NHS next?” Actually, you can ask that ...