The Vicar of Dibley

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The Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley intro.jpg
Format Situation comedy
Written by Richard Curtis
Paul Mayhew-Archer
Directed by Dewi Humphreys (Series 1-2)
Gareth Carrivick (Series 3)
Starring Dawn French
Trevor Peacock
Gary Waldhorn
James Fleet
John Bluthal
Liz Smith
Roger Lloyd-Pack
Emma Chambers
Composer(s) Howard Goodall
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 20 + 5 shorts (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Richard Curtis
Peter Bennett-Jones
Producer(s) Jon Plowman
Sue Vertue (Series 2)
Margot Gavan Duffy (Series 3)
Editor(s) Mark Sangster (Series 1)
Graham Carr (Series 1)
Chris Wadsworth (Series 2)
Mark Lawrence (Series 3)
Running time 30–40 minutes (regular episodes)
40–60 minutes (specials)
Production company(s) Tiger Aspect Productions
Distributor Endemol UK
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 10 November 1994 (1994-11-10) – 15 March 2013 (2013-03-15)

The Vicar of Dibley is a BBC television sitcom created by Richard Curtis and written for its lead actress, Dawn French, by Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, with contributions from Kit Hesketh-Harvey. It aired from 1994 to 2007. The Vicar of Dibley was set in a fictional small Oxfordshire village called Dibley, which is assigned a female vicar following the 1992 changes in the Church of England that permitted the ordination of women. The main character was an invention of Richard Curtis, but he and Dawn French extensively consulted the Revd Joy Carroll, one of the first female priests,[1] and garnered many character traits and much information.

In ratings terms, the programme is among the most successful in the digital era, with the various Christmas and New Year specials in 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 all entering the top 10 programmes of the year.[2] The Vicar of Dibley received multiple British Comedy Awards (including a Best TV Comedy Actress Award for Emma Chambers), two International Emmys, and was a multiple British Academy Television Awards nominee. In 2004, it placed third in Britain's Best Sitcom.

Throughout the series there were several special guests appearances, including Kylie Minogue, Darcey Bussell, Sarah Ferguson and Johnny Depp.

On 15 March 2013, French reprised her role as the Revd Geraldine Granger as part of her French and Saunders marathon on BBC Radio 2. She was interviewed by Chris Evans on his Pause for Thought section. The character previously made a guest appearance on Pause for Thought in the 1998 episode, "Celebrity Vicar", when it was presented by Terry Wogan.

Cast[edit]

Actor Character Duration
Dawn French The Reverend Boadicea Geraldine Kennedy (née. Granger) 1994–2007, 2013
Trevor Peacock Jim Trott 1994–2007, 2013
Gary Waldhorn Cllr David Horton MBE MA (Cantab), Chairman of the Parish Council 1994–2007, 2013
Emma Chambers Alice Springs Horton (née Tinker), the Verger 1994–2007
James Fleet Hugo Horton 1994–2007, 2013
Roger Lloyd-Pack Owen Newitt 1994–2007, 2013
John Bluthal Frank Pickle 1994–2007, 2013
Liz Smith Letitia Cropley 1994–96
Richard Armitage Harry Kennedy 2006–7
Simon McBurney Cecil, the Choirmaster 1994–2000, 2004
Patricia Kane Doris Trott 1994
Clive Mantle Simon Horton 1998–99
Keeley Hawes Rosie Kennedy 2006–7
Peter Capaldi Tristan Campbell 1994–96
Edward Kelsey Mr Harris 1994

Characters[edit]

Episodes[edit]

The Vicar of Dibley first aired on 10 November 1994. After 18 episodes and three short specials, two 60-minute episodes were filmed in September 2006 and introduced a new character, Harry Kennedy, whom Geraldine marries. The first episode featuring Harry aired on Christmas Day 2006, the second was on New Year's Day 2007. The Christmas Day episode was watched by 11.4 million people, more than any other programme on that day[3] while the New Year's Day episode was watched by 12.3 million people. This was publicised as the last episode to be aired.[4] However, a few days later it was announced that a short special would be shown for Comic Relief and this, was aired on 16 March 2007.[5] It was announced in March 2013, that the show would return for a Comic Relief Special on 15 March, guest starring Damian Lewis. [6]

Following the opening credits of each episode there is usually a humorous scene, e.g. a woman knitting straight off the sheep, or a man falling off a roof. At the end of each episode, after the closing credits, Geraldine tells a joke to Alice, her verger; most of the time the joke is rather off-colour. Alice generally fails to understand the humour and tries to interpret the joke literally, explaining to Geraldine why the premise is implausible, much to the latter's chagrin and occasionally causing her to react violently. In the final episode the joke is explained to Alice by Harry, in a comically convoluted manner which involves grammar. Contrary to expectations, given the character's limited intelligence, Alice does finally get the punchline. In the episode Love and Marriage David is the recipient of the joke and understands it straight away, but Geraldine begins to explain it to him out of habit. In the 2005 episode Happy New Year the joke was told at the beginning, as the end of the episode focused on the Make Poverty History but because the programme's broadcast came just a few days after the horrific events of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami the message and impact of the programme's ending was not received by viewers as was originally hoped.

Awards and accolades[edit]

In May 2007, Richard Curtis received a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award award for his humanitarian pursuits as well as his creative work including The Vicar of Dibley.[10]

Location[edit]

Though set in the fictional Oxfordshire village of Dibley, the series was filmed in the Buckinghamshire village of Turville, with the village's St Mary the Virgin Church doubling as Dibley's St Barnabus (sic). Other television programmes and films, such as Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Mister Tom, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Went the Day Well?, Father Came Too!, Marple, and Foyle's War have also been filmed in the village. The exterior location for David Horton's manor (usually only seen in establishing shots) was not located in Turville, but in the village of Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire.

The opening titles show aerial shots of the M40 motorway's Stokenchurch Gap, the Chiltern Hills of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and the village of Turville.

Only two episodes (1994's "The Window and the Weather" and 1998's "Celebrity Vicar") plus the 2013 Comic relief sketch have scenes set outside the village.

Theme music[edit]

The theme music was a setting of Psalm 23 composed by Howard Goodall and was performed by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford with George Humphreys[11] singing the solo. The conductor was Stephen Darlington. Goodall originally wrote it as a serious piece of church choral music. It has been released as a charity single with proceeds to Comic Relief. It also appears on Goodall's CD Choral Works, which also includes his theme for another popular comedy, Mr. Bean.

DVD releases[edit]

The Complete Collection (R2 DVD)

The Vicar of Dibley was released in DVD in Region 2 (UK) from 2001. In 2002, a DVD entitled The Best of The Vicar of Dibley was released featuring a 90 minute film of Dawn French talking to the producer Jon Plowman with clips from the series. A 2002 documentary narrated by Jo Brand entitled The Real Vicars of Dibley was also on the DVD. In 2005, a boxset of the "complete collection" was released. This included all the then aired episodes and shorts except the 1997 BallyKissDibley Comic Relief short. The final two episodes and 6-disc "ultimate" box set were released on 26 November 2007, neither included the 2007 Comic Relief short or the BallyKissDibley one.

In Australia (Region 4), all episodes have been released on DVD, but the 2007 Comic Relief short episode, "Wife Swap", has only been released on a Comic Relief DVD called Now That's What I Call Comedy, but is rare to find.

In the United States and Canada (Region 1), all episodes have been released on DVD.

DVD release dates[edit]

DVD Title Discs Year Ep # DVD release Special episodes
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Complete Series 1 1 1994 6 21 October 2003 26 November 2001 1 October 2003 The 1996 Christmas special (R2)
The Specials 1 1996 2 2001[12]
Complete Series 2 1 19971998 6 21 October 2003 2002 8 April 2004 The 1996 Easter special & Christmas special (R1 & R4)
Complete Series 3 1 19992000 4 21 October 2003 2002 2 March 2005 The 1997 & 1999 Comic Relief shorts (R1 & R4)
A Very Dibley Christmas 1 20042005 2 27 September 2005 14 November 2005 3 November 2005 The 1999 & 2005 Comic Relief short (All)
A Holy Wholly Happy Ending 1 20062007 2 9 October 2007 26 November 2007 16 January 2008
Complete Series 1 & 2 2 19941998 10 7 May 2007 The 1996 Christmas special (R2)
Complete Series 13 3 19942000 16 21 October 2003
Complete Series 12005 Sp. 4 19942005 18 14 November 2005 7 July 2005
Complete Series 12007 Sp. 6 19942007 20 9 October 2007 26 November 2007 3 April 2008 All the Red Nose Day specials and more
The Best of... 1 N/A 25 November 2002 Dawn French in conversation with producer John Plowman

American version[edit]

The idea[clarification needed] came about when two co-stars of the American sitcom Frasier, Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin set up their production company Bristol Cities with an American version of The Vicar of Dibley as their first project. On 6 February 2007, Fox announced plans to adapt The Vicar of Dibley into an American sitcom, titled The Minister of Divine. The series starred Kirstie Alley as a former "Wild Child" who returned to her hometown as its first female minister. The series was not picked up by Fox for its 2007–2008 schedule.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joy Carroll (September 2002). Beneath the Cassock: The Real-life Vicar of Dibley. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-712207-1. 
  2. ^ Ratings found on BARB website, http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/since1981/
  3. ^ "Vicar of Dibley tops Christmas TV". London: BBC. 26 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  4. ^ "Dibley's farewell is ratings hit". London: BBC. 2007-01-02. 
  5. ^ "Vicar of Dibley to be resurrected". London: BBC. 2007-01-03. 
  6. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a465437/vicar-of-dibley-to-return-for-comic-relief-special-with-damian-lewis.html
  7. ^ "Entertainment | Emmy success for Vicar Of Dibley". BBC News. 24 November 1998. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  8. ^ "French, Dawn (1957–) Biography". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  9. ^ Briant, Fiona (3 November 2004). "Vicar back for more worship". The Sun. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Archie (18 May 2007). "British acad to honor Curtis – Scribe wrote 'Vicar of Dibley, ' 'Girl in the Cafe'". Variety.com. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  11. ^ "ABC Classic FM Music Details: Saturday 10 June 2000". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  12. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Vicar-Dibley-Specials-DVD/dp/B0014QZBNA/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1Y3ZOVPITMSAU&coliid=I1C5LNZU08R9NQ
  13. ^ "Pilots: FOX 'Minister' Role Up Kirstie's Alley". Zap2it.com. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 

External links[edit]