Monday 3 December 2012

I Love The 90s: The Vicar of Dibley

"My lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, he makes me lie down In  green pastures." This is probably the only hymn I actually know and it's all down to one show, The Vicar of Dibely. As you zoom from the busy motorway out to the rolling countryside of rural England in the opening credits, you are transported to the idyllic tiny village of Dibley, where you are introduced to it's slightly barmy inhabitants, including the one sane person in the place, the beloved vicar of Dibley played by the incomparable Dawn French. From writer Richard Curtis, the man behind 'Black Adder', 'Love Actually' and Oscar nominated 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', The Vicar of Dibley is a classic British sitcom and in my eyes is one of the best shows ever made.
When the new vicar arrived on a stormy night all the way back in 1994, the members of the village eagerly awaited what they assumed to be a male reverend, but when Geraldine Granger rocks up in her rain coat they are left in shock. A woman vicar? How on trend... for the time. Yes, it was only a mere few years earlier that woman were finally allowed to be ordained and while some people embraced this historic change, others were less impressed, and in Dibley the 'others' were confined to one man, David Horton. Counsellor and head of the parish council, David makes it his personal mission to get the vicar removed as quickly as possible but there is only one problem; everyone else bloody loves her and she isn't going anywhere.
Geraldine Granger: You were expecting a bloke - beard, bible, bad breath?

David Horton: Yes, that sort of thing.

Geraldine Granger: And instead you got a babe with a bob cut and a magnificent bosom.

Geraldine Granger soon settles into life in the village and gets to grips with its quirky inhabitants. It's this collection of loveable oddballs that makes the show great. They're all mad, and the vicar is the only sane one, but she genuinely cares and loves these people despite their hangups and strange behaviour. From the boring as hell, yet still likeable Frank Pickle to the eccentric Jim Trott with his inability to say the simple word 'No' just once and not at least ten times. And of course there's the sweet yet completely brain dead couple, Alice Tinker and Hugo Horton. Their relationship is up there with some of the greats, Romeo and Juliet, Jack and Rose and Alice and Hugo. From the moment these two numbskulls have laid eyes on each other, we were rooting for them to get together, unlike Hugo's father David, what a misery guts. Remember their fist kiss and how bloody long it lasted? And their wedding which was voted best TV wedding in some pointless channel 4 top ten programme. This simple minded pair captured the nations hearts.
Hugo Horton:  In the words of Sigourney Weaver in the film Aliens...
Alice Tinker: - Get away from her you bitch!
I loved Mrs Cropley, the notoriously bad cook who's been called 'the Dibley poisoner', making such classic dishes as marmite cake and parsnips brownies much to the villages dismay. She dies early on in the series but she still manged to get everyone in the village to take on her role of the Easter bunny to wonderfully comic effect. I loved that episode and there are so many other classics. Remember the animal service? Dibley radio? One of my personal favourite episodes was 'The Window and the Weather', in which a storm breaks the Church's stain glass window and the villagers  raise money to fix it. The money they do raise ends up being given to an earthquake appeal instead. It's that kind of thing that makes the show so special, that behind all the silly madness there was a real heart that came with the characters genuine believability, they cared and so did we. 

Alice Tinker: Well, I can't believe the stuff that is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. And I can't believe that both I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and the stuff that I can't believe is not I Can't Believe It's Not Butter are both, in fact, not butter. And I believe... they both might be butter... in a cunning disguise. And, in fact, there's a lot more butter around than we all thought there was.
Dawn French's 'Geraldine Granger' holds this whole group of madcap people togther. She was both hilariously funny and sweet and compassionate, her infectious charisma and instant likeablity makes her a character that everyone loves through her ups and her downs. Remember when she out for a walk and was jumnping in the puddles? One of thge best tv moments ever. Or when that bastard Simon leaves her and she eats her way throught her massive icecream fridge? Oh, how I wish I had one of those, or the time when she stuck her head in the chocolate fountain, Dawn french has the best job in the world.
Geraldine Granger: I'm afraid theres a slight problem developing. No, you can't help at all I'm afraid, I wish you could help but it's far too late, could you hold this please... because i'm going in!
I loved this show, from Owen Newitt, the farmer with low personal hygiene and a swearing problem to the choirmaster Cecil with his bad comb over. I love that at the end of every episode there was a joke that Alice would never get. I love the episode where she got drunk and forgot she had midnight mass and the one where she finally meets Mr right and gets married in her pyjamas.  I just love 'The Vicar of Dibley.'
What do you think? Feel free to comment, follow, like, plus and share, thanks.

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