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Customer Review

HALL OF FAMEon 5 January 2006
'The Vicar of Dibley' is a wonderful series based on the adventures and misadventures of Geraldine Granger, new vicar (and one of the early representations of a female priest after the Church of England formally permitted such) in the sleepy hamlet of Dibley. The parish, formerly a tiny place whose attendance could be counted upon one hand, grows as Geraldine (Mrs. God, according to Hugo's appellation) becomes increasingly popular in her role, much to the consternation of traditionalist David Horton, somewhat autocratic ruler of the Parish Council.
Into the mix viewers also come to know Alice Tinker, the ditzy but good-hearted verger (helper in the services), Frank Pickle, Owen Newitt, Jim Trott, and Letitia Cropley, other eccentric members of the Parish Council. In the course of the series, the group endures a televised song service, an animal blessing service, a village fair, and other scenarios which never turn out quite what they seem. In the end, the whole town is about to be destroyed to make way for the new water plan's lake-building programme (shades of 'Little House on the Prairie', where at the end of the series, the whole town was blown up). But there's life in the old town yet, and Geraldine Granger leads the charge to save this quaint if often dotty, very special part of the world.
The Vicar, Geraldine Granger, is aptly and ably played by Dawn French, half of the comedy duo French & Saunders (Jennifer Saunders, her partner, played the lead in the BBC series 'Absolutely Fabulous'). Other characters include Gary Waldhorn as David Horton, Emma Chambers as Alice Tinker/Horton, James Fleet as the bumbling Hugo Horton, John Bluthal as the irrepressable Frank Pickle, Roger Lloyd-Pack as the direct, dishelved Owen Newitt, Trevor Peacock as the stammering Jim Trott, and Liz Smith as the experimental-chef Letitia Cropley. All the actors seem perfectly suited for their roles; indeed, part of Liz Smith's online biography states that she 'frequently plays eccentric or dotty old women.'
The village settings are very sweet, and the church is quite well done to be a solid, rustic, truly village centre church far from the modern world. Despite the raucous humour, one finds that the theology is quite mainstream and traditional, thus setting up a good juxtaposition.
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