The Vicar Of Dibley, 1994
Britain’s third most popular sitcom
In 2004 the BBC commissioned a poll to find Britain’s most Popular Comedy. The results collated the most popular sitcom from the 1950’s to 2004 based on the number of votes. The Vicar Of Dibley came in at number three, whilst not distracting from the fact that it is a good sitcom, it’s placing at number three surprised many, particularly when up against some of the all time greats.
The series was created as a vehicle for Dawn French, by Richard Curtis (Blackadder). In 1992 the Church Of England made changes that allowed the ordination of Women, so when Richard Curtis came up with the character he and Dawn French consulted with Reverend Joy Carroll, one of the very first female Priests. From her they were able to gain many character traits and much information, to use in the creation of the series.
The show ran from 1994 until 2000 for three series with two Comic Relief Specials between series one and two and series two and three.
Although the last full series was screened in 2000, the show took a short break and returned in the same way as Fools and Horses with a Christmas Special in 2004, followed by a New Year Special in 2005. March 2005 saw another episode for Comic Relief, before the show took another break, returning for another two specials in Christmas 2006 and New Year 2007. In March 2007 for Comic Relief, the final episode to date was screened. Since it had began way back in 1994 it had clocked up only twenty four episodes.
It’s interesting to note that on it’s original transmission series one was the only full length series. Series two only had four episodes and series three was only a series of Christmas episodes and a New Year episode. However despite this the series has won many awards, including two International Emmys.
In terms of the all important ratings, the program is one of the most successful of the digital era, with the various Christmas and New Year specials in 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 all entering the top ten programs of the year.
When their vicar passes away in the middle of a service, the inhabitants of the village of Dibley expect his replacement to be another old man with a beard, a Bible and bad breath.
They get a surprise with the arrival of the new vicar, Geraldine Granger is a woman – yes, woman – who enjoys nothing more than a good laugh and a packet of chocolate hob nobs. The thoroughly modern, pop music-loving vicar is far from the only eccentric character in the village….
Written By: Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer
Original Transmission Dates: 10th November 1994 – 16th March 2007