From Keeping Up Appearances to Father Ted to The Vicar of Dibley, the clergy have had a rough go of it over the years with respect to their portrayal in British comedy. Gerard Gilbert writes in The Guardian that vicars and/or priests are categorized as either crazed or clowns whether it’s the comedic vicar in Dad’s Army, Rowan Atkinson’s word mangling vicar in Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings and a Funeral or the deranged Catholic priests of Craggy Island. While, admittedly, Dawn French’s character in The Vicar of Dibley was both down-to-earth and a positive role model for women thinking of entering the clergy, she did have her moments. We won’t even talk about Eastenders.
Meet the Rev
Up next for the BBC and, hopefully, to public television soon, is The Rev, starring Tom Hollander as a country vicar in a rural parish who is appointed to a busy inner city church in London’s East End. On the surface, it sounds a bit like The Vicar of Dibley in reverse but they do have their similarities. Having seen the first episode, the James Wood comedy might not be a laugh a minute as The Vicar, but it does have its moments given that it deals with the realities of being a priest in a secular world, something that Geraldine Granger can certainly relate to, having spent what probably seems a lifetime dealing with the Dibley Town Council, an endless desire for chocolate and a not-so-secret crush on Mel Gibson.
This is one Britcom to keep an eye out for….