The Vicar of Dibley

The Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley
The Vicar of Dibley intro.jpg
The Vicar of Dibley opening titles
Format Comedy
Created by Richard Curtis
Paul Mayhew-Archer
Starring Dawn French
Gary Waldhorn
James Fleet
John Bluthal
Liz Smith
Trevor Peacock
Roger Lloyd Pack
Emma Chambers
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 20 + 4 shorts
(List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Peter Bennett-Jones
Jon Plowman
Producer(s) Jon Plowman
Sue Vertue
Running time 9×30 minutes
7×40 minutes
1×45 minutes
1×55 minutes
2×60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Original run 10 November 1994 (1994-11-10) – 16 March 2007 (2007-03-16)

The Vicar of Dibley is a British 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 is 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 Rev. 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, two International Emmys, and was a multiple British Academy Television Awards nominee. In 2004, it came third in Britain's Best Sitcom.

Contents

Cast

Actor Character Duration
Dawn French The Reverend Geraldine Granger 1994–2007
Gary Waldhorn Cllr David Horton MBE MA (Cantab), Chairman of the PCC 1994–2007
Emma Chambers Alice Springs Horton (née Tinker), The Verger 1994–2007
James Fleet Hugo Horton 1994–2007
Roger Lloyd Pack Owen Newitt 1994–2007
Trevor Peacock Jim Trott 1994–2007
John Bluthal Frank Pickle 1994–2007
Liz Smith Letitia Cropley 1994–1996
Richard Armitage Harry Kennedy 2006–2007
Simon McBurney Cecil, the Choirmaster 1994–2004
Patricia Kane Doris Trott 1994
Clive Mantle Simon Horton 1998–1999
Keeley Hawes Rosie Kennedy 2006–2007
Peter Capaldi Tristram Campbell 1994–1996
Edward Kelsey Mr Harris 1994

Characters

Geraldine Granger

Geraldine Kennedy
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Dawn French
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Date of birth 14 November 1964
Occupation Vicar, Nursery Teacher

Geraldine Granger (born 14 November 1964) is the female vicar, self-described as a "babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom". She is a bonne vivante and a liberal woman who enjoys nothing more than a good laugh, much to the consternation of David Horton. Despite her fun-loving and sometimes outrageous behaviour, she is deeply caring and does her best to help those in her parish in any way she can. She is well aware of her obesity but seems to take a relatively laid-back attitude toward it. A self-confessed chocoholic, her favourite being Smarties and Curly Wurlys, she often will go on a diet only to break it within minutes by eating one of the innumerable chocolate bars that she has hidden throughout her house (even in hollowed-out Bibles). On one occasion, she gives up chocolate for Lent and nearly goes mad but does succeed. Her unusual first name Boadicea is revealed later in the series, much to David Horton's ongoing amusement, although in the final episode her full name is given as (Boadicea) Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger, the latter due to her mother's favourite book being Mary Poppins and the fact that the film was released the year of Geraldine's birth. Her best friend is Alice Tinker; at the end of each episode she tells a joke to Alice, but Alice never understands the humor. Geraldine was once going to marry David Horton but decided not to after all. In 2006, she receives a proposal from accountant Harry Jasper Kennedy and accepts by running around the village, screaming. In the final episode she marries him in a rather bizarre wedding with touches of Doctor Who, including two full-size motorized Daleks, and with parts of the church decorated with vegetables; she ends up getting married in her pyjamas because her wedding dress has been accidentally covered with mud by Owen Newitt.

David Horton

David Horton
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Gary Waldhorn
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Councillor

Councillor David Francis Matthew Horton MBE, MA (Cantab), chairman of the Parish Council, gentleman farmer, pillar of the community and District Councillor for Dibley and Whitworth, and main opponent of the female vicar. He is rigid, old-fashioned, efficient, callous and punctual, yet as the show progresses, becomes lovable and endearing. He has never missed a council meeting. In fact, in one episode Jim and Owen reminisce about when David's wife went into labour with Hugo, and David held the meeting in the maternity ward with his brother Mark. In later episodes of the series, Horton comes to fall for the Vicar and even proposes to her (she accepts his proposal but later decides to back out of it). He is initially a Conservative, but defects to the Labour Party in 2000 as part of his attempt to persuade Geraldine to marry him. Whether he switches his party allegiance back after she refuses him is unknown. His love for the Vicar, however, is steadfast and true. He later supported the Make Poverty History campaign. He is a multi-millionaire.

Alice Springs Horton

Alice Horton
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Emma Chambers
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Verger, Nursery Assistant

Alice Springs Horton (née Tinker) is verger at the church. Blonde and dippy, Alice is the only main character who does not sit on the Parish Council. She is the product of a one-night stand between her mad mother (who in the last two episodes is said to be in a mental home), and the cousin of David Horton's father (present-day David Horton's first cousin once removed and predecessor on the parish council), also called David Horton. She and Hugo, her second cousin once removed, are fond of each other and the vicar plays Cupid successfully in one episode. They eventually marry and have ten children - the eldest, Geraldine, was born on 24 December 1999, in the middle of the village Nativity play in which her parents were playing Mary and Joseph. Featuring in the closing credits for most episodes, Geraldine and Alice have a cup of tea while Geraldine tries to tell Alice a joke (frequently the joke is slightly off-colour). Alice never understands the jokes that Geraldine tells her and usually proceeds to over-analyse the humour thereby completely killing the joke. In the final episode Geraldine's new husband Harry Kennedy explains the grammar involved and Alice finally understands it. Alice believes in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas and the tooth fairy. After reading The Da Vinci Code she believes herself to be descended from Jesus. She is dim-witted and naive but also sweet-natured and very endearing. She has many misconceptions, such as mistaking Black Sabbath for gospel singers, telling David that Jesus was one of The Carpenters and referring to Albert Einstein as Andrew Einstein.

Hugo Horton

Hugo "Horny" Horton
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by James Fleet
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Council member, David Horton's campaign manager

Hugo Horton is David's sweet-natured, friendly yet dim-witted son. Sometimes seen sporting a Royal Agricultural College tie, he served as his father's campaign manager at the October 1994 district council election, but inadvertently wound up going door to door with David's Labour opponent, delivering adverts and making introductions for him. Hugo and Alice Tinker are always shown to have tender feelings for each other, but they do not get together as a couple until Geraldine plays Cupid in "Engagement". David was never a loving nor affectionate father to Hugo, dominating him and undermining all his dreams and ambitions. In one episode, Geraldine mentions that God is a father much like his own father, and Hugo recalls what his father did to him as a child: shouting, insulting and caning him. When Geraldine corrects him and says she was referring to a loving, caring father, Hugo believes he had another father. Despite this, Hugo still loves and respects his father but finally stands up to him with respect to Alice, whom David predictably despises. He nicknames Geraldine "Mrs. God".

Frank Pickle

Frank Pickle
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by John Bluthal
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Secretary

Frank Pickle (born 12 August 1929) is the likable, but boring and pedantic secretary to the Parish Council. He is so boring that nobody listens to him, even when he tries to relate such momentous events such as "the time he went down to the pub and they'd completely run out of crisps" or "the time when the milkman was 47 minutes late" or "when he heard a cuckoo in March, which turned out to be a pigeon". Due to his tendency to go on and on when given the opportunity, it is said that five people, including his parents, have died while he was talking. He decided to declare his homosexuality in a radio broadcast to the village (after over 40 years of keeping it secret), but apart from Geraldine, who was with Frank at the time, none of the villagers listened to his broadcast. The next day, he decides to assert his sexuality more openly by wearing a bright cerise blazer to attend the Parish Council meeting rather than his usual brown one. Other references in the show suggest that Frank is bisexual, as he also once admitted to fancying Margaret Beckett as well as fellow councillors Owen Newitt and David Horton; is as affected by the naked model in the Dibley Parish Life Art Class as the others and painted the same model in the Landscape class. He also admitted to sleeping with Owen's cousin Sally and it is implied that he fathered one of her three children (the other two being fathered by Jim and Owen). He defines his ideal man as a 25-year-old South American with an interest in Oxfordshire council procedures. He also gives Alice away at her wedding but wears a sign which states that he is not Alice's father and also tries to put a note in the programme that states that he is not Alice's father but is a close family friend and has "not had sexual relations with Mrs Tinker in any way whatsoever".

Jim Trott

Jim Trott
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Trevor Peacock
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Council member, Farmer

Jim Trott is a Parish Council member, who has an idiosyncratic way of prefacing "no-no-no-no-no..." to almost everything he says, in particular "yes!". His stuttering once led him to lose on Deal or No Deal. His wife Doris does the opposite, saying "yes-yes-yes-yes-yes...". Jim used to be a good dancer, though an unconvincing singer. Despite being married to Doris, he has no qualms about joining Owen in openly flirting with the Vicar, frequently commenting on her "lovely arse". He is also openly promiscuous with a penchant for young blondes and Eastern beauties. In one episode he learns that Doris is having sex with her cousin Brenda. In the final episode, he proposed to the vicar, suggesting that he is no longer married, perhaps through divorce, or that his wife has died prior to this episode or that he is willing to commit bigamy. He became the church organist after the death of Letitia Cropley.

Owen Newitt

Owen Newitt
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Roger Lloyd Pack
Duration 1994—2007
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Councill member, Farmer

Owen Newitt is the local farmer and a Parish Council member, with a very earthy manner. He lives alone at the farm with his animals, and is famous for displaying extremely poor personal hygiene, compounded with chronic problems with his stomach and bowels, both resulting in flatulence. He was the first to support the new Vicar's appointment as a lone dissenter, saying that a woman wouldn't be a bad thing since the previous vicar was "a regular old woman anyway", just as David looked set to persuade the other members of the Parish Council to oppose Geraldine's appointment. His signature running gag was that he was chronically late for the Parish Council meetings, and had humorously legitimate, if gruesome, reasons for his delays (often involving graphic tales of amputating animals' appendages or otherwise mangling them). He proposed to the Vicar in "Engagement". She rejected him, but he was not upset, having found out that she was a drinker. Despite this, he frequently makes crude and misguided attempts at flirting with her, which typically backfire, and even proposed to her again the night before her wedding to Harry Kennedy. Owen spent every Christmas alone since his uncle's death in 1971 until Geraldine joined him for Christmas dinner in 1996 (one of many such invitations she accepted that year). In several episodes, Owen is shown to be engaging in bestiality (such as when he declares rumors that the vicar is a lesbian to be the "best news since they made having sex with animals legal again").

Letitia Cropley

Letitia Cropley
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Liz Smith
Duration 1994—1996
First appearance episode 1
Last appearance episode 7
Profile
Occupation Council member, organist

Letitia Cropley is a Parish Council member and the Dibley church organist. Geraldine once referred to her as "The Queen of Cordon Bleurgh"[3] and David Horton called her "The Dibley Poisoner". She was the creator of such revolting "delicacies" as; "Bread and butter pudding surprise" (a recipe for which she was breeding snails), Marmite cake (which she served for Frank's birthday), orange cake with Branston Pickle icing (which she served at the cake stall at the Dibley autumn fayre), chocolate mixed with cod roe, parsnip brownies, plain pancakes- with just a "hint" of liver, and chocolate spread sandwiches (with some taramosalata). Letitia only appeared in the first series and the special "The Easter Bunny", in which the character died. Her dying request to Geraldine was that she take over from her as the Easter Bunny, taking chocolate eggs around the village each Easter. However, when Geraldine saw every member of the parish council doing the same, it became clear that she had made the same request to all of them, as a final practical joke.

Harry Kennedy

Harry Kennedy
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Richard Armitage
Duration 2006—2007
First appearance episode 19
Last appearance episode 20
Profile
Occupation Accountant

Harry Jasper Kennedy is an accountant (described by the vicar as a "townie tosser" prior to meeting him) who moved into "Sleepy Cottage" and proposed marriage to Geraldine in the two hour-long 2006 Christmas special. Before moving to Dibley, Harry lived in a flat in London and decided to move because, in his own words, "lived on the same street in London for 15 whole years, bell never rang once". Harry has a particular fondness for books, loving "the more traditional stuff". His lovely sister Rosie joined him in Dibley a short while after his arrival, sparking Geraldine's jealousy as she believed her to be Harry's girlfriend. In the untitled special episode produced for Comic Relief benefit Red Nose Day 2007, Sting goes to stay at the Vicar's house while Harry goes off to stay with Trudie Styler.

Simon Horton

Simon Horton
The Vicar of Dibley character
Portrayed by Clive Mantle
Duration 1998, 1999
First appearance episode 12
Last appearance episode 13
Profile
Occupation Accountant

David Horton's very tall and attractive brother Simon Horton (Clive Mantle) becomes one of the Vicar's lovers in a brief romance. They first meet at the drinks party before Alice and Hugo's wedding and later they meet again when Simon comes up for Sunday lunch with David. After many efforts to get rid of several parishioners who come knocking on her door with various requests, including telling Jim Trott and Frank Pickle that 7 down on a crossword is "Plodipop", and arranging the four words "Leave-You-Remorseless-Bastards" on the Scrabble board, Geraldine finally manages to join Simon who's waiting patiently in her bedroom, followed by a few weeks of romantic bliss. Later Simon dumps her telling her that he has a girlfriend in Liverpool. A struck Geraldine therefore goes into seclusion, binging on chocolate bars and pots of ice cream, and neglecting her church duties. She decides to resign from her ministry as the Vicar of Dibley, but changes her mind when her parishioners and friends show their loyalty and support by hanging up a huge banner that reads "That tall git Simon may have bonked you and then dumped you like an old jock strap but we still love you"

Episodes

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, more than any other programme on that day[4] while the New Year's Day episode was watched by 12.3 million people. This was publicised as the last episode to be aired[5] However, a few days later it was announced that a short special would be shown for Comic Relief and this, the last ever episode, was aired on 16 March 2007.[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 never understands the humour and tries to interpret the joke literally, explaining to Geraldine why the premise is implausible, much to the latter's chagrin, occasionally causing her to react violently. In the very first episode, Alice pretends to get the joke by laughing, but laughs too long which disturbs Geraldine. On only two occasions Alice understands the joke: the first being in the episode "Election", when Geraldine explains it to her. 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 for only the second time in the series. 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 campaign.

Awards and accolades

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

The Vicar of Dibley is set in the fictional Oxfordshire village of Dibley, although it is filmed in Turville in Buckinghamshire. St. Barnabas, the church in the show is filmed at the "St Mary the Virgin" church in the village. Also the local pub used in the final episodes was filmed here. Other TV programmes and films, such as Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Mister Tom, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Marple were filmed here. The opening titles show the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire countryside (and the Chiltern Hills), surrounding the M40 on the approach to High Wycombe (Buckinghamshire), which lies only a few miles from Turville Village.

Theme music

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 Humphries[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 sitcom, Mr. Bean.

DVD releases

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 U.S./Canada (Region 1), all episodes have been released on DVD as of 26 August 2007, except for the 2007 Comic Relief short episode.

DVD release dates

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)
Complete Series 2 1 1997 - 1998 6 21 October 2003 8 April 2004 The 1996 Easter special & Christmas special (R1 & R4)
Complete Series 3 1 1999 - 2000 4 21 October 2003 2 March 2005 The 1997 & 1999 Comic Relief shorts (R1 & R4)
A Very Dibley Christmas 1 2004 - 2005 2 27 September 2005 14 November 2005 3 November 2005 The 1999 & 2005 Comic Relief short (All)
A Holy Wholly Happy Ending 1 2006 - 2007 2 9 October 2007 26 November 2007 16 January 2008
Complete Series 1 & 2 2 1994 - 1998 10 7 May 2007 The 1996 Christmas special (R2)
Complete Series 1 - 3 3 1994 - 2000 16 21 October 2003
Complete Series 1 - 2005 Sp. 4 1994 - 2005 18 14 November 2005 7 July 2005
Complete Series 1 - 2007 Sp. 6 1994 - 2007 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

U.S. version

The idea came about when two co-stars of the U.S. sitcom Frasier, Jane Leeves and Peri Gilpin set up their production company Bristol Cities with a U.S. 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.[12]

References

  1. ^ Joy Carroll (September 2002). Beneath the Cassock: The Real-life Vicar of Dibley. HarperCollins. ISBN 0007122071. 
  2. ^ Ratings found on BARB website, http://www.barb.co.uk/facts/since1981/
  3. ^ "One Programmes - The Vicar of Dibley". BBC. 7 March 2009. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/vicarofdibley/. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  4. ^ "Vicar of Dibley tops Christmas TV". London: BBC. 26 December 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6209697.stm. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  5. ^ "Dibley's farewell is ratings hit". London: BBC. 2007-01-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6225745.stm. 
  6. ^ "Vicar of Dibley to be resurrected". London: BBC. 2007-01-03. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6229007.stm. 
  7. ^ "Entertainment | Emmy success for Vicar Of Dibley". BBC News. 24 November 1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/220992.stm. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  8. ^ "French, Dawn (1957-) Biography". BFI Screenonline. http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/499480/. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  9. ^ Briant, Fiona (3 November 2004). "Vicar back for more worship". The Sun. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/173630/Vicar-back-for-more-worship.html. 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. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117965325.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  11. ^ "ABC Classic FM Music Details: Saturday 10 June 2000". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.abc.net.au/classic/daily/stories/s631456.htm. Retrieved 2011-04-27. 
  12. ^ "Pilots: FOX 'Minister' Role Up Kirstie's Alley". Zap2it.com. http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-alleyministerpilotcasting,0,6229918.story?coll=zap-tv-headlines. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 

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